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Laser beam and EMP launchers to fight against drones

Posted August. 06, 2020 07:39,   

Updated August. 06, 2020 07:39


The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) revealed advanced weapons, such as laser interception weapons to neutralize an enemy’s unmanned air vehicles (UAV) and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) launchers against drones, for the first time.

The ADD held an event on Monday to host the joint demonstration and exhibition of future weapons at its test site in Anheung, Taean, South Chungcheong Province, and showcased the weapons that are at the center of the agency’s research and development efforts. The ADD marks the 50th anniversary of its foundation on Thursday. Among the advanced weapons revealed on Monday, the laser interception weapons, which the ADD is developing with a goal of deploying them by 2023, garnered a lot of attention.

The ADD shared a video in September last year of shooting down a UAV with 10 kW and 20 kW laser beam using the laser interceptor 3 kilometers away. The agency also shared an image of a rocket model made of metal plates penetrated with a laser beam. “South Korea’s laser beam production technology is the second in the world following the U.S. with only one to two years of technology gap to the country,” said a member of the ADD.

The ADD also revealed EMP launchers to fight drones by turning an enemy’s electronic devices into scrap metal. EMP weapons, which emit very strong electromagnetic waves, are referred to as one of the most well-known asymmetric weapons to address North Korea’s threats. A test video of bringing down three small drones flying in a cluster using the weapon was also released. The ADD has been improving the performance of the EMP emitter that can be mounted on bombs dropped from aircraft since 2008.

Since the end of last year, the agency has been also working on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technologies to use for micro reconnaissance satellites. Micro SAR reconnaissance satellites can monitor an object of one meter or taller on the ground from 510 kilometers in the air both during the day and at night, regardless of weather conditions. The satellites were often used by the U.S. and Russia to fill gaps when there are issues with military satellites. Launching 32 SAR satellites would allow the reconnaissance of the Korean Peninsula and the nearby region every 30 minutes.

The ADD is also working on the development of COVID-19 treatments based on its experience to develop a medication for the Hantaan virus. A member of the ADD said they have confirmed the efficacy of the drug by conducting cell and animal tests using siRNA.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com