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South Korean Army Vows Early Deployment of ‘Dronebot’ Combat System

The unit will focus on reconnaissance and surveillance using small, swarming unmanned aerial vehicles.

South Korean Army Chief of Staff Gen. Nam Yeong-shin announced on Tuesday that the army is accelerating its efforts to deploy the drone robot-based (drone bot) combat system to adapt to new battle environments. 

“The drone bot combat system will be one of the army’s core capabilities in the future. We will strive further for its early deployment in close cooperation with the government, related industries, and the academic circle,” Nam said during a military drone forum held at the Gyeryong military headquarters.

The army initially expected to establish multiple drone bot combat units and an army division by 2030. The division will be responsible for drone weapon infrastructure, systems, and training.

It was announced earlier in 2017 that the drone bot combat unit will focus on reconnaissance and surveillance using small, swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). However, large scale attack capabilities such as neutralizing North Korean DPRK missile launchers and attacking well-defended artillery units may also be possible, experts say.

Improving South Korean Defense

In December last year, it was reported that the South Korean Army ordered “suicide drones” and small surveillance drones that will undergo testing in the next three to six months.

Just last week, the army also notified the Defense Acquisition Program Administration of its intention to test a Multi-Purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MPUGV). The MPUGV is currently under development by Hanwha Defense and may require further tests before being deployed.

The MPUGV will be a two-ton vehicle used to support infantry units, transport supplies and ammunition, for casualty evacuation, and reconnaissance. The improved prototype is expected to be unveiled in July.

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