Korean Army to soon form ‘dronebot’ unit

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Korean Army to soon form ‘dronebot’ unit

The South Korean Army will form a new unit next year specialized in military robots and drones, training soldiers to detect North Korea’s key weapons facilities and tear them down in case of war.

Plans for the so-called “dronebot” team were summarized in the army’s newsletter Tuesday, four days after the military launched a special operations force tasked to eliminate the North Korean leadership with state-of-the-art weapons, better known in local media as the “decapitation unit.”

As a first step for the dronebot team, the army said it will establish a drone educational center at its intelligence education institute, though a specific timeline was not given.

Soldiers will be responsible for remotely tracking down targets using a reconnaissance drone, after which an attack drone will be deployed to take aim.

Robots will be looking out for the enemy’s position, and upon finding them, charge immediately, according to descriptions from the newsletter. The robots will also be capable of finding survivors in chemical weapons fields.

“By using drones and robots, the dronebot battle group will maximize damage inflicted upon our enemy, while minimizing that upon our own forces,” said a South Korean Army official. “It’s part of the psychological warfare.”

The counterterrorism force currently uses robots to detect explosives and eliminate them. Domestic defense companies are in the process of manufacturing unmanned vehicles used for transferring patients.

The so-called “bee attack drone,” which involves a group of small drones, each equipped with an explosive, charging on an enemy all at once, is also under development.

BY LEE CHUL-JAE [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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