December 16, 2014 09:43
Seoul has chosen Israel Aerospace Industries' Heron-1 as the medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle to fly over the northwesternmost islands and the de-facto maritime border to monitor North Korea.
In a meeting on Monday afternoon, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration decided to buy four IAI Heron-1s for about W30 billion (US$1=W1,096).
A DAPA official said the IAI Heron-1 was chosen "because it is much cheaper than other drone models," though it has less capacity.
Unlike the current arsenal of UAVs that can fly for only a few hours and have a limited surveillance range, the Israeli drone can stay airborne for more than two days.
Equipped with an electro optical camera and synthetic aperture radar, the Heron-1 is capable of conducting precision surveillance over targets on the ground. Measuring 8.5 m by 16.6 m, it can fly at a speed of 207 km/h and stay airborne for up to 52 hours with a payload of 250 kg.
Some experts complain that the Heron-1, which was developed in 1996, is less advanced than the Elbit Hermes 900, another Israeli UAV that was developed in 2009.
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