South Korean Army Developing "Drone-Bot Combat Unit" To Swarm The North

Tyler Durden's picture

As North Korea continues its saber-rattling exercises, with the latest coming via an ICBM test that confirmed the rogue nation could reach a bombing target anywhere in the continental U.S., the South has responded with similar displays of force largely consisting drills conducted in coordination with the United States military (see: In "Largest-Ever" Military Drill, US Orders 16,000 Troops, 230 Jets To Simulate War With North Korea). 

Now, as the Financial Times points out this morning, South Korean preparations for a potential confrontation with their northern neighbor will include the creation of a weaponized drone unit that could be used to swarm North Korea in the event of a conflict.

Operated by the army, the unit will primarily engage in reconnaissance missions to survey developments at the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile sites, but could in future be used to launch swarm attacks, according to people familiar with the matter.


The establishment of the army unit follows calls from western officials and analysts for South Korea to improve its advanced surveillance technology.


“South Korea’s army plans to create a drone-bot combat unit in 2018 and set up a professional combat team to operate it,” an official at the Ministry of Defence confirmed.


“South Korea has reached a level of consensus on swarm technology, but adoption will take a while,” said a person familiar with the military developments. “The army is facing [political] pressure to reduce its forces, so it has to come up with new ideas.”


Of course, this plan comes amid growing concerns that the rapid advancement of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic weapons programs has effectively changed the balance of power in the region.

Earlier this week, William Perry, a US defense secretary in the Clinton administration, told a forum it would be “preferable” for South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear force — an option that the US has been historically reluctant to support and one which South Korean President Moon Jae-in has also rejected so far. That said, he is facing growing pressure from members of the conservative establishment, who view a balance of nuclear power between the two Koreas as the only way to maintain peace on the peninsula.

As the FT notes, the drone-bot army unit could be used to carry bombs or simply create a swarm of thousands of drones to effectively form a blockade of ships or aircraft...

Experts say such technology could have lethal and non-lethal capabilities. In the case of the latter, a swarm of thousands of cheaply made but connected drones could prevent area access by clustering around and blocking ships or aircraft.


“Some of us in the field proposed the Republic of Korea military should take advantage of this superiority against North Korea,” said Bong Young-shik, an expert on North Korean military developments at Yonsei University.


“Although it is unlikely, if the South Korean military wants, these drones can carry bombs as the nation is no longer bound by payload limits,” he added, referring to a decision by the Trump administration earlier this year to lift limits on South Korean munitions.

...a strategy which may or may not have been derived from a scene in Guardians of the Galaxy...


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Automatic Choke's picture

Swarm control algorithms are a formidable programming problem.   To my knowledge, it is still in the early R&D phases.

Schmuck Raker's picture

Hmm... how far along is DARPA with "flocking"? "Murdering"?

NidStyles's picture

Godspeed my little Korean Aryans. Godspeed.

land_of_the_few's picture

If only Paul Blöbel was around to help them with that tricky body disposal problem, he did such a good job with Sonderaktion 1005. The bone-grinding machines were a nice touch.

Still, best foot forward, second time lucky, they only managed to destroy 80% of the cities of NK and murder 15% of the population, around 1,500,000 souls, last time.

NoDecaf's picture

South Korea is "responding" to North Korean "provocations"?

shitshitshit's picture

why not simply radio freq jamming the stupid drones? -They will just land wherever during the storm, and then you can pick them up by the truck load.

pretty easy to do: reuse old electric transformer coils with some high induction and capacitance components associated and you'll get a pretty decent radio free zone.


infotechsailor's picture

once activated, you can put all the drones in autopilot and the onboard flight controllers take over. they can rely on either GPS received data (patch antenna facing the sky) or just a combination of barometric pressure sensors (altitude) and ground image recognition (onboard map data) if they are able to jam the GPS signals. Using mapdata and barometers, they can still complete their missions without any radio signals at all.

tmosley's picture

All the way.

They have made insect sized drones, and created swarm intelligence algorithms to control them. Equip them with cyanide and tell them to kill anyone holding a weapon or standing near an artillery piece/mobile ICBM launcher and the war will be over in an hour.

wisehiney's picture

Where can I get one?

Would make a nice Christmas gift for every snowflake in your family.

Tell them that it is a Christmas Tree ornament.

Idiots have nothing interesting to say, nor nothing fun and illegal to do.

But it would make them feel important to think that the whole world is interested in them.

Just to feel that everyone is watching and enthralled with their every move.


Fear not.

None of this shit will make it very far.

Try not to get preppers fatigue.

Long-John-Silver's picture

I can read the after action report now. Fighter Aircraft was downed by Drone Strike.

onmail1's picture

target practice

MusicIsYou's picture

Well drones are nothing a 500kiloton nuclear bomb can't take care of.

Dragon HAwk's picture

You can get snake shot/bird shot for your 38 special pistol,  for those days when you don't want to carry around a shot gun.

MusicIsYou's picture

Ya should be forewarned, hydrogen nuclear explosions fix just about anything.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

You can access ZH in Beijing now too eh? Cool. So, lemme guess. While you're sitting in a room with 60 other kimchi breath assholes all squeezed into one office bent over your keyboard busily hacking away on Windows 10 and playing games while the commisar looks the other way I'm having a cold beer and getting a blow job over here in the free world.

Go fuck yourself. NO WAIT.... it gets better. If I fuck up... wait... it doesn't even fucking matter. I can't remember half the shit I post on ZH. But if YOU fuckup, your family gets sent off to reeducation camps where they get starved raped murdered. LMAO... fucking buckethead. Should feel sorry for you stupid repressed medieval fucks, but all I can muster is contempt.


MusicIsYou's picture

Well if push comes to shove North Korea can just detonate a hydrogen bomb right at the border of South Korea and the blast will kill most U.S troops, everybody in Seoul and the shockwave and EMP will destroy all electronics on not only Japan but every U.S aircraft carrier in the region. The U.S is just stupid.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

5 week account.... says enough right there. *Cough*.... the bulk of US forces have been moved off the DMZ for nearly 20 years now and for the last 5 years the US has been reorganizing Korea-based units further and further south. MOST US troops are 60 miles SOUTH of Seoul today. Some command units are as far south as Taegu and Pusan.


SO..... you're advocating that the Norks detonate a hydrogen bomb and kill everyone in Seoul, and receive upvotes for it to boot. Applause.


38BWD22's picture



There are a lot of weird jackasses here at ZH who strangely want hostile countries and entities to kill Americans, here and abroad.  Perhaps they are just St Petersburg or Shanghai trolls.

They are probably young.  Which puts Social Security (etc.) at even greater risk long term.  I am glad I did nit pay much into tthe system, and have no desire to get anything out.

msamour's picture

I disagree with you. I'm a French Canadian 40 year old here. I have no love for Americans. You deserve everything you will get. You got it coming for what you have all done the last 70 plus years...

XWeatherman's picture

War is a Crime; Unprovoked War is a War Crime.



land_of_the_few's picture

OK, but what's the downside?

MusicIsYou's picture

Hydrogen bombs are a fix all.

MusicIsYou's picture

You want to see all those high tech jets fall from the sky like junk toys? Kim just has to detonate a hydrogen bomb.

MusicIsYou's picture

Hey guess what? Once you're nuclear you're untouchable.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Hey guess what? Once you're nuclear you're untouchable.

Is that the word around the halls of power in Pyongyang?

silverer's picture

War is just so much fun for people that think it will never reach them.

JuliaS's picture

You know what worries me about the possibility of nuclear war? It's that even the people who actively promote an attack don't have an "afterwards" story. Nobody goes: "... and then. And after it's over." Even the highest lunatics with hands itching for the red button know "there is no after". They're done with life and want to take the world with them to the grave, like the ancients used to bury corpses with tools for making it in the afterlife. The mad men and women must've read too much into that tradition and think that if the world dies with them, they'll inherit a chunk of it in another realm.

Here we are. Waking up every morning, fortunately, to a world still intact. We watch these lunatics hugging their precious red buttons day after day. We know them and they know us. And day after day. Sun goes up. I look out the window and thank the universe for letting me enjoy the world as it is for one more day (I'm saying that sarcastically).

Somehow we used to believe in brighter future. Right now it feels like there is nothing to look forward to. Absolutely nothing!

What's going to get cheaper? Nothing, except money itself, as it buys less and less. More jobs? Nope! Higher standard of living, better ecology? Nope and nope. Better tastier food of greater variety? Only if you invent a time machine. Less hostility internationally, as oil gets harder to dig out of the ground and fresh wates resources deplete? Surely not! Machines doing all the work? That's for the rich (not for the rest of us). Self-driving cars? How many will be able to afford a ride even in a rented one? Games, movies, art? What's to look forward to?

We live in a time with no future and it's a scary thought. Even things that are positive - the kind of crap that gets standing ovations at TED talks. Always ask yourself: "Where does that thing put me?" When you see a guy toying with quadrocopters, ask whether you're the operator of that drone, or the guy running away from a drone being operated by a guy like the one on the stage? If you see a miraculous 3D organ printing procedure, ask whether your Obamacare special voucher will pay for that translpant, or if you'll be left to rot with appendicitis, while a wealthy geezer gets a complementary body transplant from your first-born, so his brain could survive another 100 years. When you read about neural networks getting computers to look at pictures and say funny things, think where that computer will be next and what it will be doing to you.

Anything new - ask the same question: "How will that help you personally". You'll likely come up with the same solution I did after a long examination. That there is nothing to look forward to. Negatives are yours to keep and positives are reserved for somebody else. I don't have a future. My kids have no future. Well, at least the possibility of things getting worse outweighs the possibility of things spontaneously getting better.

Economic bubble deflating and interest rates rising? Nope! Not in the cards. Gold coming back? Not after a collapse so bad, it'll be flowing through the steets in liquid form, through the trails of human ash. Life getting longer? Screw that! Give me 10 more years of youth and you can chop the 10 off on the back end if you want. If it shuts me down right here, right now (if I have less than 10 left in me), then so be it!

Tell me if there is something to look forward to that I'm not seeing? I have a family and a daughter. They're of no refuge against events that I fear, which wipe out civilizations. If whatever happens ends up defeating me, it'll definitely be strong enough to destroy the rest of my family. So I, saying it once again, see nothing to look forward to. Been everywhere, done everything, seen everything worth seeing. Now only comfort remains in the past, but present and future remain ominous. To various degree many of my friends begin to agree. To feel something. Then again, we've been feeling something for the last 10 years. This tease may outlast us all.

BeansMcGreens's picture

You write pretty well.

Write a true novel, something along the lines of War Of The Worlds or Gone With The Wind.

Nobody produces anything really classic anymore.

Will give you something to look forward to another day.

MusicIsYou's picture

Those massive U.S aircraft carrier training centers for sailor sensitivity look neat on the sea, but they are sitting ducks from a nuclear explosion. About the only thing U.S ships are good for is brainwashing sailors to love homosexuals.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Those massive U.S aircraft carrier training centers for sailor sensitivity look neat on the sea, but they are sitting ducks from a nuclear explosion. About the only thing U.S ships are good for is brainwashing sailors to love homosexuals.

Hahahaha.... it almost sounds like real English. We used to call this Nearenglish back in the day.


Congrats ZH. You're on the map with the Norks. Must be targetting websites using that fucking Dems "alt-right" list.

IronForge's picture

10.Mil Troops.

That is the Swarm that Counts.

Of course, the swarm of Nukes will suppress KOR's Moral First; but the Occupation is going to be Brutal.

I am Groot's picture

South Korea would be better off dropping millions of Twinkies and letting Fatty Kim eat himself to death.

I Write Code's picture

These don't have much range or speed, so how do you get 1,000 drones two hundred miles to the target?  And then they still don't have much duration.  Have to be much, much larger to have much range, speed, or duration.

XWeatherman's picture

There are mini jet motors nowadays that should have enough power to enable sufficient range. They could be guided below radar by terrain following algorithms, have a small radar cross-section and carry up to a mini-nuke. GPS could make them accruate against specific targets like ammo dumps, launch pads, barracks, etc.

DEMIZEN's picture

 needs a large swat to assign a unique fingerprint low altitude dems resolution is too high to process at given speeds and terrain too generic.

simply put, everything is flat when you are 5ft above the ground and if is not- you are about to crash.

i could be wrong.

Guderian's picture

Felon Musk will fix all these problems and moar.

For a few billion of subsidies.

Bullish all over!

land_of_the_few's picture

5 klicks max then they are simply a delivery of electronics for the Norks. Will they land them by jamming or simply crash them?

Kelley's picture

S Korea needs a machine that would tie Un's shoelaces together. He'd never see it. Timber!

Vageling's picture

DaFuQ? Plastic swarming around stopping ships? Yeah... real scary. Do they bring their guns or just hover around trying to be intimidating..? I know! Let's paint angry faces on them!

Political pressure... Technically you're at war but you want to reduce forces. Okay, so much for considering them a real treat. So who will the US train with? Their new plastic allies? Replacing them with drones?

Do they have this kamikaze function? You know... Eating missiles and all! What a bunch off bullshit. 

Kelley's picture

S Korea needs a machine that would tie Un's shoelaces together. He'd never see it. Timber!

VW Nerd's picture

Waiting for the day when the news announces a domestic terror cel swarmed the elites' neighborhoods around Washington DC with drones dropping moltov coctails on their houses and their toney neighborhoods have been antifa'd

Blurb's picture

It seems Edge of Tomorrow really had an impact over there.

MuffDiver69's picture

There are so many predator type drones watching every missile launch point it would be a miracle if a missile got half a mile up..Think about it...

XWeatherman's picture

A small drone that can lay an armed thermite grenade at an ammo dump can do a lot of damage.

msamour's picture

Good Gods people! Ammo dumps have earth birms on top of them about 4 to 5 feet think. There is also another 12 to 20" of concrete underneath the earth birm. There is no way in hell a small thermobaric device could dig through all that. It would fizzle out 18 inches in the dirt. You would need genuine expensive bunker busting ammunition to bust through ammo dumps.

A little research goes a long way...

Debugas's picture

Cylons are coming after your ass

DaiRR's picture

That's truly the military solution to preemptively neutralize NK's 5,000 artillery pieces and the rest of their 1950's technology.  It will take 20,000+ fairly capable kamakazi drones to do an effective job.