S. Korea Finds North's Crashed 'Toy' Drones

But the 'rudimentary aircraft' can still 'find a blind spot': experts

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 2, 2014 6:53 AM CDT | Updated Apr 2, 2014 7:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – A pair of crashed drones found in South Korea came from the North, Seoul officials say, and they weren't exactly state-of-the-art, with one defense expert telling the Wall Street Journal that they "both look like rudimentary model aircraft." Both drones turned up near the countries' border. One was found in Paju, south of the demilitarized zone, last week, Yonhap News reports; the other crashed on the border island of Baengnyeong following a recent exchange of fire, the BBC reports. And though their design might be what the expert calls "crude," South Korean officials investigating the drones say both clearly serve a function: surveillance. "The two unmanned aerial vehicles are prime-type spy drones," an official tells Yonhap.

"While advanced spy drones can adapt their flight paths to different terrains, the North's drones cannot change their flight altitudes," the official notes. Nor were they capable of sending real-time visual data. The Baengnyeong drone is about 10 feet long and can carry some 55 pounds of ammunition, but its design is out of date, an expert tells Reuters. "It is like a toy. But for surveillance purposes, it doesn't have to be a high-tech, top-notch military product ... This type of toy-like equipment can find a blind spot." Indeed, images on the smaller drone show gaps in Seoul's air defense; they also show the presidential compound, Yonhap notes.

In this Monday, March 31, 2014 photo released by the South Korea Defense Ministry Wednesday, April 2, 2014, an unmanned drone lies on the ground damaged on Baengnyeong Island, South Korea.   (AP Photo/South Korea Defense Ministry)
In this photo provided on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by the South Korea Defense Ministry, an unmanned drone which was found last week in Paju, a South Korean city near the land border with North Korea.   (AP Photo/South Korea Defense Ministry)
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