A South Korean aircrafts chases birds after mistaking them for a North Korean unmanned aerial vehicle.

Initially supposing the object to be a UAV, South Korea sent out a number of fighters and helicopters to pursue it before realising it was actually a flock of birds.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea reported that the nation’s air defence radar discovered a strange object at 13:00 on December 27 in the Ganghwa neighbourhood, west of Seoul, monitored it for three hours, and sent warning messages to the locals. The object was believed to be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

A number of F-15K heavy fighters, KF-16 fighter jets, and attack helicopters were then dispatched by the South Korean military to investigate the object before realising it was a flock of birds rather than an enemy UAV.

The event took place the day after five North Korean unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) infiltrated South Korean airspace and remained there for hours without being shot down, garnering a lot of condemnation from the South Korean military. In the last five years, a North Korean drone has not crossed into South Korean airspace until now.

In July 2019, the Korean Air Force made a similar error when they sent out KF-16 fighters to defend against a flock of wild geese that they mistook for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

In reference to the size of the aircraft, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the military is capable of dealing with “UAVs that constitute a significant threat,” but admitted the “limited” capacity to find and destroy small reconnaissance UAVs.

According to experts, the current South Korean air defence system is underequipped and underprepared to handle the threat posed by North Korean drones. “It’s still unclear if the Korean pilots truly found the North Korean UAV. In overall, it is highly concerning how the South Korean air defence force handled the UAVs in this incident “Stephen Bryen, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in the US, offered his opinion.

On December 28, South Korea’s Defense Ministry recommended allocating $441 million over the following five years for the purchase of weaponry, such as aircraft-mounted laser weapons and anti-aircraft systems, that are capable of detecting and intercepting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

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