On Monday, five North Korean drones entered South Korean airspace. As a result of the open provocation, South Korea also alerted fighter jets and combat helicopters to chase them out of the country’s airspace.
After several warning shots were fired, the South Korean Air Force fired about 100 rounds from a helicopter equipped with machine guns. In the end, neither fighter jets nor helicopters were able to shoot down a single drone. Thus, the drones sent by North Korea flew over several South Korean cities, including the capital, Seoul, for about five hours. In addition, a South Korean Ka-1 fighter jet crashed for unknown reasons.
After Monday’s events, questions about the shortcomings of South Korea’s air defense were once again raised.
The incident highlighted the significant shortcomings in our army’s readiness and training over the past years and clearly underlined the need for more extensive preparation and training.
John said at the cabinet meeting.
John attributed the lack of preparation to his predecessor’s conciliatory policy toward North Korea. Based on Pyongyang’s friendly tone, the former South Korean president created the Inter-Korean Military Agreement in 2018, which bans hostile activities in the border areas.
We planned to create a drone unit to monitor and reconnoiter key North Korean military facilities, and we are now accelerating the plan as much as possible
The last drone incident on the Korean Peninsula was in 2017, when a North Korean reconnaissance plane crashed and was found in the mountains on the border between the two countries. In 2014, a North Korean drone was detected on a South Korean border island.
Both devices are equipped with cameras that mostly contain images of South Korean military installations and border areas.
South Korean investigations revealed that Pyongyang made great progress in developing military reconnaissance drones during that period. The 2017 drone was capable of flying up to 490 kilometers and had twice the motor capacity and battery power of the device deployed in 2014.
Analysts say current drones may be too small and rudimentary for large-scale reconnaissance missions, but they may be sufficient to deliver weapons or disrupt air traffic. On Monday, flights from Incheon and Gimpo airports were briefly suspended due to drone flights.
Cover image is illustrative. The cover photo shows F-35B fighter jets during a military exercise in Korea. Cover image source: Wikimedia Commons