South Korea will start mass production in 2018 of a recently developed radar capable of detecting and tracking small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) amid growing tensions with North Korea.
The localised air defence radar, which was under development since 2011, will be deployed with army troops and naval units in the country’s northwestern islands close to the border with North Korea, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced in a 14 July statement.
“It is a three-dimensional active phased array radar, which has a better detection range than a conventional radar,” said DAPA, adding that it has been specially developed to detect small North Korean UAVs, several of which have been found crashed in South Korea.
Developed by DAPA in collaboration with South Korean defence company LIG Nex1, the radar, which can also detect other aerial targets such as enemy aircraft and missiles, does not need a separate power supply unit when mounted on a vehicle, thus enabling a quick deployment.
"The successful completion of the local air defence radar system has further strengthened our air defence capabilities," said DAPA.
The announcement came less than a month after South Korean authorities found a North Korean camera-equipped UAV that had crashed in a mountainous area in the South Korean county of Inje, Gangwon Province, near the inter-Korean border.
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul said that the UAV had taken photographs of the deployment site of the US Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea before crashing.
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