South Korea plans to establish a drone operations command this year to bolster its defense against North Korea.
The command will carry out various missions, including “surveillance and reconnaissance, psychological warfare, electromagnetic warfare, and strike operations,” Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of Defence.
The command will focus on carving out space for drone operations within the South’s operational airspace, currently allocated for “fixed-wing planes, helicopters, artillery forces, and other aerial vehicles,” Aju Business Daily reported.
North’s Drone Attack
The development comes after five North Korean drones breached the South’s airspace in December, forcing Seoul to scramble fighter jets and attack helicopters.
South Korean aircraft failed to shoot down the drones for fear of collateral damage leading to widespread criticism and a public apology.
In January, Seoul announced the establishment of the command along with counter-drone measures such as regular air defense drills and procuring drone jamming guns.
The country will also invest $479 million to manufacture reconnaissance and surveillance drones domestically by 2031.
The drones would be deployed on warships for real-time monitoring of potential maritime security threats.