South Korea can buy Israel’s ‘magic eyes’ to track North Korean UAVs.

The South Korean military is considering buying the Sky Spotter complex, dubbed Israel’s “divine eye,” to enhance its ability to detect small North Korean UAVs.

South Korean defense sources said on January 8 that the military is considering accelerating the purchase of Israel’s Sky Spotter complex to strengthen the air defense system. The complex can early detect and track airborne objects, including kites, balloons, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The South Korean military will decide whether to buy Sky Spotter after studying the complex’s effectiveness in dealing with small North Korean UAVs, especially in overcoming the vulnerabilities of radar and thermal observation devices in operation. 

The move comes amid fierce criticism from South Korean defense agencies for failing to prevent five North Korean drones from entering airspace by the end of December 2022. One of these 5 UAVs even entered the no-fly zone around the South Korean Presidential Office in Seoul, called P-73.

The South Korean military tried to shoot down the drones mentioned above, including a helicopter that fired 100 rounds but failed. 

A KA-1 light attack aircraft was deployed to deal with the UAVs mentioned above that crashed during take-off in Gangwon Province. All of the UAVs appear to have returned to North Korea without damage.

President Yoon Suk-yeol then criticized Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup over the drone intrusion. Yoon pledged to strengthen South Korea’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with a budget of $441 million for air defense systems over the next five years.

Sky Spotter is developed and manufactured by Israel’s Rafael corporation, which claims the system can detect and neutralize “old-fashioned radar threats” and enable multiple tracking and countermeasures at Target at the same time. Sky Spotter has an operating radius of about 10 km.

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