South Korea may buy Sky Spotter system from Israel for anti-drone defence

The South Korean military is considering acquiring the Israeli Sky Spotter system. This would improve its ability to identify unmanned aerial vehicles used by North Korea.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

The South Korean military is reportedly considering acquiring the Israeli Sky Spotter system to improve its ability to identify unmanned aerial vehicles used by the North Korean government.

According to Yonhap, which cites a source from the defence ministry, this is attributable to harsh criticism of the South Korean military ministries for failing to prevent the intrusion of five North Korean drones into its airspace in late December of last year.

Sky Spotter EO sensor improves the effectiveness of legacy radars by establishing a passive aerial defence sphere with a radius of one kilometre to tens of kilometres and beyond using a combination of extremely sensitive sensors. These sensors include Medium Wave Infra Red (MWIR), Short Wave Infra Red (SWIR), and Visible Imaging Spectrometer (VIS). Rafael says that highly developed algorithms of automation, image processing, and artificial intelligence (AI) make it possible to engage, track, and manage many targets at the same time.

After testing the system’s performance against dangers posed by the North’s drones, a decision regarding whether the military will approach the government for purchase will be made in the coming weeks, according to a source.

In December, what is believed to have been a squadron of North Korean drones broke through the inter-Korean border. South Korean military forces engaged in a futile attempt to bring down the unmanned aerial vehicles and sent interceptor aircraft and helicopters in pursuit of them. It is reported that a KA-1 light attack aircraft went down in flames while attempting to take off.

A total of five tiny drones, four of which belonged to North Korea, were spotted flying in the vicinity of Ganghwado Island in South Korea, while the fifth travelled to the northern part of the metropolitan region, which included Seoul. After some time had passed, the media in South Korea reported that just one of the five drones had returned to North Korea, while the other four had disappeared from radars.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense has stated that they will take action in response to the provocation that was caused by North Korean drones flying in South Korean airspace. At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the North Korean drones were unable to gather any useful intelligence.

How Rafale Sky Spotter System tackles UAV’s

The use of radar in both civilian and military airspace monitoring is virtually indispensable; nevertheless, recent developments in threat technology have made it more difficult for legacy radars to provide accurate data. Large portions of coverage can be damaged or denied by jamming and defence suppression attempts, while low-RCS (radar cross-section) targets and slow-flying targets at low altitudes become increasingly difficult to detect.

To find solutions to these issues, a passive, non-jammable airspace surveillance electro-optical system has been developed by Rafael. This system uses medium- and short-wave infrared sensors in addition to visible light sensors to provide complete coverage over a designated area with a radius of one kilometre extending out to several tens of kilometres. By using extremely sensitive EO sensors, it is possible to minimise the challenges associated with radar surveillance. These challenges include the inability to distinguish small drones as targets, background noise, and multipath abnormalities.

The system, which is known as Sky Spotter and is already installed in the dual Israeli civil/military aerial surveillance network, has the potential to be utilised as either a fixed national asset, a gap-filler asset, or a transportable asset in order to create airspace surveillance during expeditionary operations rapidly. Rafael Advanced Defense developed Sky Spotter. It is possible to use it in conjunction with radar or as a completely independent system, and it has a variety of uses, including air defence and anti-UAS operations, among others.

Sky Spotter is made up of a sensor with a wide field of vision and constant vigil. The imaging that this sensor captures is automatically processed so that it can perform a sense-and-warn function as well as lock-and-track many objects at the same time. It is possible to get comprehensive coverage by adjusting the number of gazing sensors used in a system that is networked.

The system sends a warning to a sensor with a slightly narrower field of vision if one of these sensors automatically detects an object that appears suspicious. Because of the imagery provided by this sensor, there may no longer be a need to dispatch interceptors to investigate radar blips, which are normally harmless.

The radar that is a component of Rafael’s Drone Dome system is being improved with the help of this cutting-edge electro-optical technology that the company has developed. Rafael asserts that Sky Spotter is an active Early Warning System with a high likelihood of detection and a very low rate of false alarms. The objective of the EO sensor is to positively identify an adversarial drone while minimising the risk of false alarms.


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