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South Korean army will launch 'dronebot' combat force next year

By Jennie Oh
South Korean army will launch 'dronebot' combat force next year
The South Korea military has been watching the progress of the United States' Coyote drone, like this one made by Raytheon. Image courtesy of Raytheon

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 5 -- South Korea will mobilize a force of "dronebots" next year, scaling up the country's drone and robot technology for warfare.

A South Korean army official said Tuesday that a special unit will be created to command reconnaissance drones optimized for various military operations, according to JoongAng Ilbo.

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The so-called dronebots will monitor and gather data on targets in North Korea, including the regime's leadership and key nuclear facilities, and deliver immediate strikes if necessary.

As part of the army's plan to foster five "game-changing" combat assets, the drones will aim to execute the tasks in the shortest possible time with minimal casualties among the allied forces, according to the official.

The army has been researching ways to control combat drones in swarms to immobilize enemy forces and vehicles from a distance.

Researchers are also looking into ways to load high-explosive bombs weighing around 2.2 pounds onto dozens of small drones, which could hit the target in a single attempt.

The military has noted the progress of the U.S. Coyote drone that tested successfully in 2015, Chosun Ilbo reported.

The Coyote can travel 1 1/2 hours at the maximum speed of 62 mph. It can carry objects weighing up to 2.2. pounds.

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The official said a technical task force will be formed to develop a standard platform for the dronebots and gradually expand their capabilities.

The army will also set up an educational center to train agents to operate the dronebot team.

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