Nuclear and missile tests by North Korea in the Sea of Japan have prompted the US to permanently post attack drones in South Korea, at Kusan Air Base, some 112 miles South of Seoul to ward off North Korea’s “continued provocative actions,” Reuters announced.
The US military is keeping a close eye on developments in the Korean peninsula, despite China’s opposition, as the drones’ radar can also monitor activity on Chinese territory. Russia has also expressed concern over how its security will be affected.
US officials further announced that their North Korea strategy is up for reassessment and “all options are on the table.”
The Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) can be controlled remotely. The attack drones incorporate Hellfire missiles and can stay in the air for 24 hours. They are an upgrade to Predator drones, use better surveillance technology and integrate with Apache helicopters.
“The UAS adds significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to U.S. Forces Korea and our Republic of Korea partners,” United States Forces Korea spokesman Christopher Bush said.
Each drone needs 128 soldiers for maintenance, while 12 are designated per company. Some 28,000 US troops are currently stationed in South Korea.
“The stationing of this company, which will be assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, directly supports the US Army’s strategic plan to add one Gray Eagle company to each division in the Army,” USFK said in a news release.