S. Korea stages drills to counter N. Korean drone threats

SEOUL– The South Korean military conducted drills Thursday to strengthen its defense against potential drone-based provocations by North Korea, Seoul officials said, as it has vowed to adopt an “aggressive” approach to counter the renewed security challenge.

The drills came after the military failed to shoot down five North Korean drones that violated the South’s air space on Monday, in an infiltration that raised questions over its readiness posture.

They took place in areas around Ganap-ri, Yangju, some 30 kilometers northeast of Seoul, mobilizing some 20 manned and unmanned assets, including KA-1 light attack aircraft and Apache and Cobra attack helicopters.

Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum oversaw the drills.

“Under various hypothetic scenarios of enemy drone infiltrations, the drills proceeded with procedures to detect, identify, trace and intercept them,” the JCS said in a press release.

In a midterm defense blueprint released Wednesday, the defense ministry said it plans to spend 560 billion won (US$441 million) over the next five years for a set of anti-drone projects, including the deployment of a laser weapons system.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff has also laid out plans to aggressively utilize strike assets, stage regular drills and incorporate platforms capable of shooting down drones without causing damage to civilians.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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