September 27, 2021

Crashed drones reveal state of North’s drone program

Though unsophisticated, N. Korean UAVs useful for reconnaissance and observation

Two North Korean unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – commonly known as drones – crashed in South Korean territory in late March. Though neither design is very large or advanced, they demonstrate that Pyongyang is developing drone technology capable of conducting reconnaissance against the South.

The UAVs that crashed in Paju on March 24 and on the South Korean island of Baengnyeong-do on March 31 are very different than those seen in military parades in Pyongyang last year. The designs are not very sophisticated and likely use many off-the-shelf components such as motors originally made for remote control model planes. They may also incorporate some technology adapted from the U.S.-made MQM-107 target drone North Korea is believed to have acquired.