South Korea Is Working on Game-Changing Stealth Military Drone Technology

Korean Air wants to change the game when it comes to stealthy military drones 6 photos
Photo: Korean Air
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It’s not a secret anymore that various types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are an essential asset for armed forces everywhere. But the fast, unprecedented development of unmanned systems also requires troops to step up their game when it comes to electronic warfare.
Bae Systems, one of the top experts in electronic warfare (EW) applications, explains that the main elements of an EW strategy are electronic support (ES), electronic attack (EA), and electronic protection (EP).

While ES is the phase associated with intelligence and surveillance operations (basically, detecting potential threats), EA is the culminating point when weapons are used to destroy the enemy’s electronic infrastructure. In order to achieve that, countermeasures such as signal jamming and spoofing are also important.

This is why the new generations of military aircraft, from fighter jets to UAVs, need to increase their stealth capabilities exponentially. They need to be as difficult to detect as possible while carrying out their missions.

Korean Air, an airline with a history spanning over a half-century, has been actively involved in a low-observable UAV project launched by the Korean Agency for Defense Development (ADD) for more than a decade. The goal was to develop game-changing capabilities for military UAVs, mainly a reduced radar signature. This was done by using multifunctional composite materials, plus what the company describes as “high-performance radar absorbing structures.”

Now, Korean Air has taken the next step by launching a partnership with the Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT). Until 2025, the two will research and develop high-performance low-observable technology for the next generation of military drones. By the end of this period, Korean Air will unveil its cutting-edge technology for broadband stealth UAVs.

This complex project includes several other partners from the industry and the academic field. The airline has initiated a consortium together with six institutions specializing in stealth technology. Together with the Inha University and the Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI), it will develop advanced materials for radio wave absorption.
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Editor's note: Gallery showing various ADD military UAVs

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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