South Korea planned to introduce a new counter to North Korea's burgeoning nuclear weapons program: drones. South Korean news wire agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that the nation planned to roll out a new weaponized drone unit next year. "The Army plans to set up a special organization to lead the development of dronebots, establish a standard platform and expand the dronebot program by function," an Army official told Yonhap, asking not be named because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter. "To begin with, we will launch a dronebot combat unit next year and use it as a'game changer' in warfare." The drones primary function will be for surveillance -- North Korea has launched a number of ballistic missile tests this year and many of them came without warning.
North Korea had plans to direct a cyber attack against power grids in the United States and successfully launched an attack directed at South Korea's Ministry of Defense, NBC News reported. While the campaign may have failed, the attempts of North Korean hackers to target utility companies presents a growing risk for American companies that are responsible for keeping the lights on for millions of homes across the country. Many power grids operate on a network separate from the public internet, insulating the systems that control the grid from attackers. North Korean hackers were able to successfully infiltrate South Korea's defense ministry and stole a large collection of military documents that purport to detail wartime contingency plans developed by South Korea and the U.S. A total of 235 gigabytes of military documents were reported to be stolen from South Korea's Defense Integrated Data Centre in a breach that took place in September 2016, and 80 percent of those stolen files have yet to be identified.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, is being deployed in Seongju in order to protect South Korea from Pyongyang's growing threats. "It was confirmed that (the craft) took photos of the THAAD site in Seongju," a South Korean defense official told reporters, adding that the distance between the border and the zone in North Gyeongsang Province is around 168 miles. A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. "The THAAD defensive missile system is critical to protecting South Koreans from Kim Jong Un's arsenal," U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in a statement last week.
In order to counter the growing nuclear threat from North Korea in the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. is expected to deploy an unmanned aircraft system to South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, citing a Seoul military official. The attack drone will be deployed to strengthen strike capabilities against ground targets in the North, the official told the South Korean news agency. Also on Monday, South Korean air force said that it had begun a week-long drill named "Soaring Eagle" to practice the country's readiness against any possible threat from its northern neighbor. The reclusive country said that the launches were a part of exercises targeting U.S. military bases in Japan.