ROK Military To Weaponized Drone Unit Next Year

The ROK military is embracing the future of combat by using swarms of cheaply made and weaponized drones to attack enemy targets:

South Korean troops use reconnaissance drones during training in this file photo provided by the Korea Army Academy at Yeong-Cheon. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s Army will create a combat unit of weaponized drones next year to help counter North Korea’s threats, an official said Tuesday.

The Army calls the envisioned defense asset a “dronebot,” a combination of the words “drone” and “robot.”

“The Army plans to set up a special organization to lead the development of dronebots, establish a standard platform and expand the dronebot program by function,” the Army official said, requesting anonymity. “To begin with, we will launch a dronebot combat unit next year and use it as a ‘game changer’ in warfare.”

The team will operate reconnaissance dronebots against such core North Korean targets as nuclear and missile sites. In case of a contingency, swarms of dronebots will be mobilized to launch attacks.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Korea Post Begins First Trial Run of Newspaper Delivery By Drone Aircraft

It looks like the newspaper delivery boy is on the verge of becoming obsolete:

A drone operated by Korea Post takes off from a port in Goheung, South Jeolla, to deliver mail and packages to the residents of Deungnyang Island, which is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) off the coast. [KOREA POST]

Jang In-kil, the lone mailman on Deungnyang Island off the coast of South Jeolla, travels to a port in Goheung, some 40 minutes away from the island, by boat at 8 a.m. every day to pick up mail and packages for the residents of the island. By the time Jang returns with the mail, it’s already 3 p.m., which means it takes over eight hours every day for him to collect the mail for his neighbors on the island.

That eight-hour trip may be shortened to just one hour, thanks to a new delivery service by government-operated drones.

Korea Post, the national postal service provider, on Tuesday started a trial run of its delivery drone on Jang’s daily route. The drone flew the 3.8-kilometer (2.4-mile) trip from the port in Goheung to a community center on the island in just 10 minutes, half an hour less than the time Jang had to spend on the sea every day.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but I wonder if South Korea will have the same regulatory issues preventing drone delivery that Amazon is experiencing in the US?

North Korean Drone Reportedly Photographed the Seongju THAAD Site

This makes me wonder how many drones have successfully completed their reconnaissance missions over South Korea?:

THAAD site on former South Korean golf course outside of Seongju.

A North Korean drone found last week by a South Korean civilian had spied on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile site in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang, before crashing into a mountain in Inje, Gangwon, on its way back to the North, according to local military officials.

The drone had traveled at least 270 kilometers (168 miles), the distance between the demilitarized zone and Seongju, to reach the Thaad field.

The South Korean military had not known about the flight until an Inje resident retrieved the drone from a mountain last Thursday at 11 a.m. and reported it to authorities the following day.

“Around 10 photos were found in the Japan-made Sony camera attached to the drone,” said a South Korean military official Monday, who embargoed the story until Tuesday. The photos of Thaad, he said, were among “several hundred,” which mostly featured mountains and civilian areas.

Local officials had to restore the camera because it was initialized, or formatted, by the time they got it. Further analysis was underway.

The South Korean military said the drone had started taking photos from the north side of Seongju all the way down to the south, then continued as it flew back towards North Korea.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but these drones are so cheap to make it seems like the Kim regime can just keep sending them over the DMZ until they are successful at capturing the imagery they want.  It looks like the US military needs to consider getting one of these systems to counter North Korea’s drones.

ROK Troops Fire Shots at Possible Drone Flying Over the DMZ

It looks like the North Koreans have flown another drone over the DMZ:

South Korean troops fired warning shots at an “unidentified object” flying across the heavily fortified border from North Korea Tuesday afternoon, the South’s military announced.

The military detected the object traversing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) southward in the Chorwon area in the eastern province of Gangwon at around 4 p.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It added the South’s military fired warning shots along with dispatching a warning broadcast.

A defense source said the military fired more than 90 K-3 machine gun rounds, adding it may have been a drone.

The South’s military is analyzing the object and its route and has beefed up its air defense posture, said the JCS.  [Yonhap]

It looks like the ROK military needs to get themselves fielded with these systems to counter the drones North Korea is increasingly using.

Songdo Has Become the Drone Hub of South Korea

It looks like Songdo is the place to go for anyone looking to fly their drone in the Seoul area:

rok flag

Songdo in Incheon has become a mecca for local drone developers as it is free of regulations banning the use of drones, making it become a hot spot for drone makers.

Songdo was created by reclaiming 32.3 square kilometers (12.4 square miles) of sea in a mega-project launched in 2003. It is largely free from regulatory measures, as there are no military installations near the area, since it used to be a vast coastal region covered by seawater prior to 2003.

The absence of legal obstacles to fly drones is a boon for gadget developers, as Seoul is ridden with regulations banning the use of drones to protect important facilities such as the presidential office and the government complex building. Gyeonggi is not exempt from state regulations because of its proximity to the inter-Korea border and the presence of military installations there.

“One big advantage to testing a drone in Songdo is that it is without no-fly zones, which are common in Seoul,” said Park Sang-gook, director of the research center for the drone manufacturer We Make Drone.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: North Korea’s New Drone

N. Korea unveils new drone

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (2nd from L) watches a soldier holding a 1-meter-long drone during a recent visit to an army science and technology museum, in this photo released by a North Korean TV station on July 18, 2016. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)