Saturday, April 20, 2024

South Korea develops new drone interceptors

South Korea is set to unveil a groundbreaking system designed to intercept drones at distances of up to 30 km using a tube-launched, unmanned aerial system.

The use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for interception purposes is not new. The “Coyote” low-cost, rail-launched drone from RTX in the United States is the most notable weapon of this type, initially developed as a modular UAV for various purposes, including reconnaissance, strike, and submarine launch. It was later transformed into an interceptor by attaching a small rocket engine, with prices ranging from $100,000 to $200,000 per unit, making it one of the market leaders in combat drones. Recently, the U.S. Army announced a new contract for 600 Coyote interceptors.

The new Korean anti-drone system is expected to be similar and based on a specialized trailer equipped with tube-launcher modules for interceptor drones. Upon detecting an enemy UAV, an interceptor drone is immediately launched from the launcher container for interception.

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The launched interceptor drone is equipped with detection radar and a data transmission line connected to ground control equipment. Prior to approaching the hostile UAV, the detection radar informs the interceptor drone of the enemy UAV’s location through the data transmission channel and closes in on it. When it gets close enough, the electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) guidance system installed on the interceptor drone’s head tracks the drone to its end and intercepts it through self-blow up.

According to the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), development of this project began in the fourth quarter of last year, with the Basic Design Review (PDR) soon to be completed, followed by the Detailed Design Review (CDR). After the interceptor drone completes its flight, expected in the fall of this year, interception tests with an actual UAV are planned to be conducted by the second half of next year. The interception test will also include targeting a small UAV.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul is a defense reporter who covers the Korean defense industry and all related issues.

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