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Army says it will create ‘dronbot unit’

Faced with North Korea’s sophisticated missile and nuclear capabilities, the South Korean Army came up with its own solutions to better counter the evolving military threat: drones and robots.

During a meeting with lawmakers Tuesday, the Army said it will create “dronbot” battle units for surveillance and combat mission at Ground Operations Command scheduled to be established this year.

Assigned to division-level units and above, the dronbot units would help the military’s contingency efforts to detect and destroy North Korea’s missile site and long-range artilleries, the Army added. 

Army`s drone conducts search and rescue operation at a beach near the port city of Busan. Yonhap
Army`s drone conducts search and rescue operation at a beach near the port city of Busan. Yonhap

In a report submitted to the lawmakers, the Army said the surveillance drone units can detect precision targets on the battlefield and relay images in realtime.

Through such capabilities, the drones can support the efforts to gather intelligence on the North’s key targets -- such as missile launch sites and long range artilleries positioned along the border, the Army added.

Regarding the use of attack drones, the Army said it would employ a large number of small drones to neutralize targets identified by surveillance drones.

Combined with the drone units, the battle robots can help human troops engage in dangerous missions such as removal of landmines and detection of chemical weapons, the Army added.

The Army said they would soon recruit enlisted soldiers for “dronbot” units. Last year, the military created occupational specialty for employing drones.

Separately, the Navy told lawmakers that it would launch a new expeditionary fleet headed by a KDX-III Aegis destroyer capable of intercepting North Korea’s ballistic missiles.

The Air Force pledged to introduce two RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles this year with two more to arrive next year. The Marine Corps said it would establish its own aviation unit in 2021.