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South Korea is gearing up development of defensive measures against its northern adversary. South Korea plans to develop a range of stealth UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to protect itself against the threat of North Korea’s long range missiles.

The UAV programme, announced earlier this month, is one of over 30 such research and development project the Korean defence ministry is launching by the end of next year. The stealth UAVs will be used to monitor and, if needed, destroy North Korea’s long range artillery and mobile missile systems.

When completed, the UAVs will fly at an altitude above that that North Korea’s aerial defence systems are capable of targeting. As well as mobile and long-range missile systems, the UAVs will target Scud, Rodong and Musudan missiles, and 240mm multiple rocket launchers.

“For large targets such as long-range missiles, the UAV will be able to hit them directly,” an official said. “To target smaller objects, the UAV will identify the targets and strike them with several submunition rounds.”

The military will now start work on analysing UAV models. With the knowledge gleaned, it plans to conduct applied research, which is scheduled to be finished by 2020.

The Agency for Defence Development plans to spend 380 million won ($327,000) on the first stage of R&D work. Applied research is scheduled between 2017 and 2019.

Another research project will look at utilising UAVs to detect unauthorised individuals near military facilities. This project will employ high-end video cameras in conjunction with video analytics software.