After the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), an anti-ballistic missile system, South Korea is now looking to develop a weapon system to thwart any drone attack. South Korea’s defence procurement agency said that it is ready to invest $74 million in order to develop the system by 2023. The alleged incidents of infiltration by North Korean spy drones has led to this development. The anti-drone weapon system will be able to track and destroy small drones and other aircraft.
“We aim to improve the system so that it will ultimately be capable of intercepting a fighter jet and satellite,” Song Chang-joon, a senior official at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), said in a statement. The system, nicknamed Block-I, will apparently lock invisible optical fibre razors on a target at close range. South Korea has been wary of North Korea’s series of missile tests and it forced the country to deploy THAAD as defence measures.
South Korean officials had said that a North Korean drone was found in 2017 on their side in the demilitarized zone. The officials also claimed that around 550 photographs of THAAD were recovered from the built-in camera of the drone. According to the South Korean military, a North Korean drone had crashed during a reconnaissance mission in 2014. The mission allegedly included taking pictures of South Korea’s presidential Blue House while flying directly over it.
Earlier, the THAAD deployment had riled up China as it had claimed that the anti-ballistic missile system will be misused by the United States for spying on it. China retaliated with unofficial sanctions against the South. Later, Seoul agreed to accept military constraints in exchange for lifting the sanctions. Seoul agreed that there will be no further anti-ballistic missile systems in South and there will be no military alliance involving Korea, the US and Japan. It is yet to be seen what will be China’s reaction to South Korea’s new weapon system.