February 21, 2024
Analysis

North Korea debuts new spy and combat drones that mimic US models

Capabilities resemble Reaper and Global Hawk UAVs, though expert says unclear whether they’re based on stolen designs

North Korea unveiled two new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that closely resemble known U.S. drone models on Thursday, signaling via state media that the country is well on its way to achieving both combat and reconnaissance drone capabilities. 

It is unclear when Pyongyang began developing the new drones, but their reveal comes around two and a half years after the Jan. 2021 party congress, where DPRK leader Kim Jong Un ordered the military to produce “unmanned striking equipment” and “reconnaissance drones” with a range of 310 miles (500 km).