S.Korea to Build up Military Drone Capacity

  • By Roh Suk-jo, Yu Yong-weon

    December 29, 2022 12:28

    South Korea will spend W560 billion over the next five years to build capacity to counter North Korean drones (US$1=W1,267).
    In a medium-term defense plan published Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said it will "build up surveillance assets and develop 'soft kill' and 'hard kill' weapons systems to respond to the threat of North Korean drones."
    The first step is to strengthen antiaircraft radar capabilities. The antiaircraft radar system at the 1st Army Corps first detected the five North Korean drones that invaded South Korean airspace on Monday.
    The "soft kill" system that would incapacitate enemy drones with jamming frequencies is to be ready by 2025, while the "hard kill" system would disable or destroy drones with lasers. 
    Dedicated Army units will be beefed up.
    In other plans, the military will build a 3,600-ton submarine that will carry midrange ballistic missiles to respond to North Korean threats.
    The standing Army will be maintained at the current level of 500,000 troops for the next five years.
    The ministry estimates the cost for the five-year defense plan at W331.4 trillion.
    For now, South Korea will continue to send reconnaissance drones across the border to spy on North Korean facilities if any North Korean drones invade again.
    Development of stealth drones could also be sped up so the South can spy on North Korea's missile launch sites in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, where the regime has launched long-range rockets and tested engines for intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as Pyongyang.
    "The more drones the North sends, the more South Korea will send too under the principle of proportionality," a high-level government source said Wednesday.
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