North Korea's 'suicide drone' captured with propeller-equipped 'K drone' : RFA North Korea's 'suicide drone' captured with propeller-equipped 'K drone' : RFA

North Korea's 'suicide drone' captured with propeller-equipped 'K drone' : RFA

North Korea's 'suicide drone' captured with propeller-equipped 'K drone' : RFA

We will seek a path to peace by accurately understanding the current state of the military standoff on the Korean Peninsula. This is Kim Jin-guk, hosting the 'Encyclopedia of New Weapons on the Korean Peninsula' delivered from Washington DC, USA . We connect with Lee Il-woo, Secretary General of Korea's ' Independent Defense Network ' .

Russia attempts to attack high - ranking German official visiting Ukraine with suicide drone ?

It has already been more than two years since the start of the war in which Russia invaded Ukraine, with some saying that North Korea's large-scale export of ammunition completely changed the tide of the war . Leaders and high-ranking figures from around the world are visiting Ukraine to reaffirm their solidarity with Ukraine , but recently , a very shocking incident occurred ?

 Last February 24th marked the second anniversary of the outbreak of the Ukraine War, and leaders from around the world visited Ukraine to express solidarity . The President of the European Commission, the Prime Minister of Canada , the Prime Minister of Belgium , and the Prime Minister of Italy visited Chiiu , as did former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson .

In the case of Germany, Foreign Minister Annalena Verbock, leader of the Green Party and currently forming a coalition government with Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party, visited Ukraine. On February 25 , a German -supported seawater desalination plant was launched in the Mykolaiv region of southern Ukraine. There was a schedule to tour the site .

This itinerary was accompanied by Governor Vitaly Kim of Mykolaiv, who is well-known in Korea as a fourth-generation Korean . Since the place was only about 50km away from the front line, Minister Verbok and Governor Vitaly Kim's party were heavily guarded .

When the group finished visiting the desalination plant and were on their way to their next trip, the security guard spotted a Russian suicide drone approaching at close range and immediately issued an anti-aircraft alert . The security personnel immediately took an anti-aircraft fire stance , and the vehicle escaped the drone danger area at full speed .

Most of the suicide drones being used by Russia are FPV drones, with a maximum flight speed of about 110 to 130 kilometers per hour , so vehicles that left the scene at high speeds escaped the drones and escaped to a safe area .

At events where high-ranking officials gather like this, control of personnel and vehicles is usually implemented even before the event begins, and vehicles carrying attendants gather in large numbers , so it is highly likely that Russia was aware of the event taking place and has recently expanded its support for Ukraine. It appears that this incident was caused to show antipathy toward Germany .

Possibility of suicide drones heading from north to south

It seems difficult for Korea to just ignore the assassination attempt using a drone as if it were someone else's problem. This is because there is a precedent in which North Korea's small unmanned aerial vehicles hovered over the THAAD base deep inland in Korea for a long time and over the Blue House, where the president's office was located . North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is very interested in drones, so there are concerns that North Korea could use similar tactics in an emergency, right ?

FPV drones, which are currently being used on the battlefield by both Russia and Ukraine, are small drones commonly seen in everyday life . Since the radio wave transmission and reception distance from the ground control console is short , it is usually used by special forces who have infiltrated the vicinity of the target. However, if the drone size is slightly larger and a high-performance antenna is attached, the suicide drone can be sent to a very long distance .

North Korea also sent a number of drones to South Korea in March and April 2014 . Because these drones are for long-distance flight, they were larger than the FPV drone used in the recent attempt to attack the German Foreign Minister , measuring 1.4m in length and 1.9m in width , and they took a large number of photos while hovering over Seoul for a long time . The drone took several pictures while flying in a circle over the Blue House, where the South Korean President's office was located . Considering the weight of the camera mounted on the drone , it carried about 2-3 RPG-7 warheads or grenades instead of the camera. It has become a payload that can be used . If North Korea had rammed a drone into the main building of the Blue House without a camera and loaded with explosives, South Korea , which did not even know that such a drone was hovering over the Blue House, would have suffered the same fate .

In fact, North Korea was very interested in drones even before the Ukraine war, and Kim Jong-un was especially interested in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles . In the early days of his reign , Kim Jong-un created the so-called aviation club in Pyongyang , encouraged the production and flight of various types of R/C aircraft , and also put a lot of effort into smuggling R/C aircraft or drone-related parts that can make large and small drones .

Even though the skies over the Blue House were breached in 2014 , South Korea suffered the humiliation of having the skies over the metropolitan area breached again at the end of 2022. However , if North Korea decides to launch such a small drone and attempt to assassinate key figures or sabotage facilities, it will be unable to respond in any significant way. It's highly likely .

Swarm drones in movies , North Korea may not be confined to the screen

The strength of drones is that, depending on how they are made , they cost between 10,000 and 20,000 dollars per unit . If they are made really cheaply, they only cost about a few hundred dollars. Recently , the concept of swarm drones has been coming out a lot to take advantage of these strengths , and they can be used to assassinate the president. Wouldn't North Korea be able to use the tactic of using multiple drones to attack key figures like in American movies about preventing attempts ?

If you look at the Hollywood movie released in   2019 , ‘Angel Has Fallen ’ , a large number of drones are used to neutralize the defenses of the US Secret Service, the SS , the world’s best security organization, and to assassinate the US President. There is a driving scene . When multiple suicide drones rush towards a target, the target is in fact helpless .

In 2018 , there was an incident in which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was almost assassinated by a suicide drone attack that was a modified civil drone during a speech in the center of the capital. Drone technology is better now than in the movie introduced earlier or when the assassination attempt on the Venezuelan president took place. It is more developed and more systematic .

Recently, drones can be easily obtained by civilians, and Chinese online shopping malls, which are said to have spent more than $ 3 billion on online advertising over the past year , are spreading out high-performance drones equipped with high-resolution cameras as free products to entice members to sign up. Accessibility has improved . The problem is that anyone can get their hands on drones and operate them in large numbers at once, attach explosives to them, and use them for military attacks or terrorist activities .

The drones that Ukraine and Russia have recently been using on a large scale are mostly made by attaching grenades, mortar shells , or RPG-7 warheads to the free drones introduced above or ultra-low-cost drones that cost around $ 100 each . North Korea may directly create such drone attack weapons , but there are political forces in South Korea who will follow North Korea as they did in the past R/O incident and will help North Korea attack South Korea's infrastructure in case of emergency .

For this reason, Korea must prepare for the possibility of large-scale drone attacks on national infrastructure such as government agencies, military bases, and Hyehwa telephone offices in the event of an emergency .

‘K Drone ’, a drone equipped with propellers, will be released soon

If dozens or hundreds of drones are attacking at the same time, it seems impossible to respond with regular air defense weapons . In particular, there seems to be a problem in terms of efficiency in targeting drones costing hundreds of dollars each with missiles costing tens or millions of dollars each , no matter how high-level security guards may be . Is Korea developing measures to counter this ?

Drones are a very cost-effective tool for attackers, but they are a troublesome weapon for defenders . A cheap suicide drone costs hundreds of dollars , and the most expensive one costs about 10,000 to 20,000 dollars . However, these drones are so small and fast that it is difficult to intercept them with existing anti-aircraft weapons in the form of cannons , and collateral damage can occur if anti-aircraft guns are fired in urban areas. It's highly likely . However, if you use it as a missile, the price of the missile is too expensive . The infantry portable shoulder-fired missile Stinger costs $ 120,000 to $ 150,000 per shot , and the Cheonma surface-to-air missile used by the Korean military costs over $ 200,000 per shot . For this reason, the Korean military is making low-cost anti-drone weapons to capture drones at the lowest possible cost .

First of all, there are currently rifle-mounted drone jammers fielded by some units and agencies. As the drone threat intensifies, the government purchases devices developed by domestic defense companies, and are generally procured at a price of around $10,000 per set . These jammers are weapons that, when a drone is identified with the naked eye, point the drone jammer mounted on a rifle toward the drone and then emit jamming waves to prevent enemy drone operators from operating the drone through wireless communication . If you buy one for $10,000 , you can use it unlimitedly just by charging the battery , and the disturbance range is 1.2 to 1.5 km.

We have also begun developing weapons to catch drones. Currently, the Korea Agency for Defense Development is developing a drone interception weapon that looks like multiple rockets under the name < Anti-Drone Strike Weapon > , and is planning its first interception test next year . This weapon places an interceptor equipped with a minimal sensor and a warhead into a tube-shaped launcher , and by grouping several tube-shaped launchers together, it looks like a multiple rocket launcher at first glance . The interceptor looks like a missile , but it is propelled by a battery-powered propeller rather than a rocket propellant , and its speed is slow, about 100 to 200 kilometers per hour . This system works by finding enemy drones with a small radar with a detection range of about 30km , launching an interceptor to get close to the enemy drone , and then exploding the warhead to destroy multiple nearby drones simultaneously . The range is known to be about 10 to 15 km , but considering that the U.S. Coyote Block 2 interceptor drone, a similar weapon system, costs about $ 100,000 per shot , the goal is to make it cheaper than this .

South Korea plans to further develop this system and create a quadcopter-type drone capable of vertical takeoff and landing, and then also create an airborne interceptor weapon that launches an interceptor drone . Once these systems are deployed in large quantities , North Korea's It is expected that we will have the ability to respond to drone attacks to some extent .

Lee Il-Woo, Secretary General of Korea's Independent Defense Network. This is Kim Jin-guk of RFA in Washington, USA .

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