N.Korea Has 1,000 Military Drones

  • By Yu Yong-weon

    December 27, 2022 11:21

    North Korea has an estimated 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles capable of reconnaissance and attack missions.
    The most prolific drones are the Banghyon I and II, which are modified versions of the Chinese D-4 UAV. The North has around 300 for deception missions or target practice. They are 3.23 m long and can travel up to 50 km for two hours at an altitude of more than 3 km. Some of them can even be mounted with bombs weighing 20-30 kg and travel at a speed of 160 km/h.
    The South Korean military suspects they have been deployed in frontline North Korean bases.
    The North also smuggled U.S. MQM-107D Streaker drones through Syria and modified them to carry small munitions. The Streaker can fly at a speed of 925 km/h and hit targets 600 km to 800 km away. It also bought Russian Pchela 1-T and VR-3 short-range drones that can travel 60 km to 90 km on surveillance missions lasting up to two hours.
    A drone (left) found in Paju, Gyeonggi Province in March 2014 and another found on Baeknyeong Island the same month.
    Other North Korean UAVs have been found after they crashed near Cheong Wa Dae, Paju and Baeknyeong Island in 2014 and another one flew over Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province to film surveillance of a THAAD anti-missile battery the U.S. has stationed there.
    Chung Ku-youn of the Korea Institute for National Unification said in a 2017 report, "North Korea's air force is considerably weaker than South Korea's, while the absence of military satellites makes intelligence-gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance missions difficult. In order to offset this, North Korea is focusing on developing drones."
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