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Military blames 'insufficient' threat perception, equipment, training for failure to shoot down N.K. drones

All News 17:55 January 25, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean military has cited "insufficiencies" in its threat perception, internal information-sharing, equipment and training for its botched operation to shoot down North Korean drones last month, informed sources said Wednesday.

Ahead of the National Assembly's full defense committee session set for Thursday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) briefed its lawmakers on the outcome of its weekslong inspection of the operation against the five North Korean drones that violated the South's airspace on Dec. 26.

The JCS admitted to a lack of readiness against North Korean drone infiltrations, but made no mention of the need to hold anyone responsible for the failure to bring down the drones, including one that flew close to the office of President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul.

In its briefing, the JCS said that the military's perception of threat over small North Korean drones was "somewhat insufficient" due to its focus on threats from the North's nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to the sources.

It also pointed out that an anti-drone operational system, called "Durumi," exposed operational "limits" as it does not necessitate the simultaneous mobilization of both monitoring and strike assets in consideration of hostile drones' flight speeds and other features.

Other contributing factors included insufficiencies in information-sharing and communication among relevant military units, the absence of "realistic" training against drone infiltrations and a lack of effective detection and interception equipment.

Based on the inspection results, the JCS outlined a series of counter-drone plans, including establishing an operational system suited to counter small drone infiltrations, holding quarterly "realistic" air defense drills and swiftly securing non-kinetic strike capabilities.

Despite the failure to intercept the North's drones, the JCS did not mention any disciplinary measures against those responsible for it.

"As the inspection is not over yet, we are not at the stage to mention a disciplinary step if any," a military official said on condition of anonymity.

This file photo shows a North Korean drone discovered in a mountainous area in the northeastern county of Inje in 2017. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows a North Korean drone discovered in a mountainous area in the northeastern county of Inje in 2017. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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