Posted April. 19, 2005 23:03,
As the peak of the crab season approaches, South Korea is considering the use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) above the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the West Sea in order to monitor North Korean naval forces and prevent any accidental military engagements between the two Koreas.
The UAV is considered a proper method of reinforcing current monitoring assets to prevent a recurrence of military engagements with North Korea along the NLL, according to an official of the Ministry of Defense on April 19.
The military authority expects that a UAV fitted with several reconnaissance devices, such as an aerial photographic camera, will help the military promptly decide on whether North Korean naval ships are hostile by analyzing the size and weapons of the ships.
It is known that military authorities are considering flying the UAV south of the NLL for detailed reconnaissance on vulnerable sea areas due to its short flying time.
Likely candidates for monitoring the North Korean naval forces are Bijo, which is currently in use by the Korean army corps, and Searcher, which was adopted from Israel.
Bijo, meaning soaring bird, was developed by local technique, has a of maximum six hours of flying time, and has a 60-80 kilometers flying radius. Currently, 10 Bijos are in service.
The military authority has mainly used the Korea Naval Tactical Data System (KNTDS), intelligence agencies, and information from U.S. forces for monitoring North Korean naval ships along the NLL in the West Sea.