South Korea has now fixed on 2017 as the year to buy Global Hawk high-altitude drones from the U.S., signing the contract next year.
The aircraft would be used to monitor North Korea for up to 42 hours at a time from a height of 20 km.
The acquisition will allow Seoul to establish its own "kill chain" whereby it can detect signs of an impending ballistic missile launch and destroy it early.
During the parliamentary audit last Friday, Defense Acquisition Program Administration official Lee Yong-geol, told a parliamentary audit the drones will cost "a little over" W900 billion (US$1=W1,061).
DAPA wants to buy four. South Korea military has tried to buy them since 2005, but the U.S. restricts exports because it worries that the technology could fall into the wrong hands.
But this April the U.S. finally approved the sale to South Korea, a first for an Asia-Pacific country. But the cost far exceeded the W480 billion originally earmarked for the project and the military had to wait for the Ministry of Strategy and Finance to increase the budget.