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South Korea has observed increased unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) activity inside North Korea’s airspace, according to S. Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).
According to MND spokesperson Moon Sang-gyun, South Korea will not tolerate intrusions into its airspace.
“We have been keeping an eye on continuing North Korean UAV activities in the North Korean region,” Moon said.
“If they cross (into the South) we have anti-aircraft weapons such as helicopters or Vulcan Cannons to take them down,” the spokesperson added.
North Korea’s UAVs were spotted up to eight times a day, reports at least one South Korean media outlet. The activity seems to be part of landing and taking off exercises.
When asked about the activity, Moon neither confirmed nor denied the reports, though he acknowledged that “such activities are present.”
South Korea is operating several layers of surveillance, Moon said, designed to detect different kinds of UAVs.
How to destroy the offending UAV would depend on its size, according to one military adviser working with South Korea and international authorities.
“If the North Korean UAV is as big as a Global Hawk, jets will be effective to take it down,” he told NK News. “However, if they are as small and simple as the ones from 2014, using helicopters – as the MND said – to visually identify and destroy them would still be the most suitable choice for us.”
A North Korean UAV flew over South Korean territory about two months ago and was fired upon with approximately 20 machine-gun rounds. It later returned to North Korea.
This incident reveals potentialities that are troubling to at least one researcher. Finding reliable methods to take down UAVs is imperative, according to him.
“In the worst case scenario, the UAVs can be equipped with biological weapons. Such small UAVs are hard to detect and it’s difficult to predict their path, so finding the fastest method to take them down as soon as they are spotted is needed,” Kim Tae-hoon, the chief of the Special Disaster Prevention Center told NK News.