T-50 Golden Eagle in the background

South Korea will develop a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to counter North Korea's long-range artillery and mobile missile systems, a South Korean defense official said Sunday.

The development is part of the 31 research projects to be conducted by the South Korean military by the end of next year, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Yonhap News Agency.

These stealth UAVs will stand by at higher altitudes than other aerial defense systems owned by North Korea and thwart the enemy's long-range missiles and mobile missile systems. The targets include North Korea's 240mm multiple rocket launcher and 170mm self-propelled guns, as well as SCUD, Rodong and Musudan missiles, according to the official.

"The stealth UAV will directly strike large objects, such as long-range missiles and mobile missile systems," the official said. "To handle smaller targets, the UAV will deploy several submunition rounds that can independently identify and attack them."

Once the initial research phase is over, applied research will be conducted from 2017 to 2019, the official said, adding the initial research phase is expected to cost 380 million won (US$327,000).

South Korea will also investigate the possibility of developing a drone that can detect unauthorized personnel in its military facilities as part of the research projects to be conducted by next year, the official added.


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