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Meet North Korea’s Latest Drone

by John Reed on February 6, 2012

As Iran and China and who knows who else scrambles to unlock the secrets of the U.S. Air Force’s stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone, North Korea is moving to reverse engineer some 1970s-vintage target drones.

Yup, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency is reporting that the North has bought up old MQM-107D Streaker target drones from Syria with the intent of developing high speed attack drones based on the tech. The hilariously named Streaker (its replacement, the BQM-167 Skeeter has a similarly amusing name if you’ve listened to hip hop anytime in the last decade) was developed in the 1970s for the U.S. Army to tow gun and missile targets. IN the late 1980s, Beechcraft proposed making a version of the Streaker that could carry electronic countermeasers and serve as a flying decoy over combat zones.

North Korea is developing unmanned attack aircraft using U.S. target drones purchased from the Middle East, a military source in Seoul said Sunday, indicating the aircraft will likely target the South.

“North Korea recently bought several U.S. MQM-107D Streakers from a Middle Eastern nation that appears to be Syria, and is developing unmanned attack aircraft based on them,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

The MQM-107D Streaker is a high-speed target drone used by the U.S. and South Korean militaries for testing guided missiles.

North Korea has conducted numerous tests on high-speed target drones mounted with high explosives, but has yet to master the technology, the source said, citing South Korean intelligence sources.

If it succeeds in developing the attack aircraft, the North appears likely to deploy them near the inter-Korean border to target South Korean troops stationed on border islands in the Yellow Sea.

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