South Korea to Deploy "Star Wars" Laser Weapons Targeting North Korean Drones

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jul.11 - 2024 1:04 PM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
South Korea will be the first country to deploy laser weapons to shoot down drones.

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South Korea announced that it will deploy laser weapons this year to shoot down North Korean drones, thereby becoming the world's first country to operate such advanced military technology.

The country's arms procurement agency, Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), revealed this development on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.

The 'Star Wars Project'

The laser weapon program, dubbed the "Star Wars project," is being developed in collaboration with Hanwha Aerospace.

These drone-zapping lasers are both effective and cost-efficient, with each shot costing just 2,000 won - or around $1.45.

They are also quiet and invisible, enhancing their operational advantages.

DAPA stated, "Our country is becoming the first in the world to deploy and operate laser weapons, strengthening our military's response capabilities against North Korea's drone provocations."

How the Laser Weapons Work

A DAPA spokesperson explained that the laser weapons can shoot down drones by burning their engines or other electronic components with beams of light for 10 to 20 seconds.

This new technology promises to be a game changer on future battlefields.

Recent Drone Incidents

In December, five North Korean drones crossed into South Korean airspace, prompting Seoul to deploy fighter jets and attack helicopters to intercept them.

This was the first such intrusion since 2017.

Although fighting in the Korean War (1950-1953) ended with an armistice, both North and South Korea remain technically at war and have violated the armistice by sending drones into each other's airspace.

Countries like South Korea, China, and the United Kingdom are in a race to develop and deploy laser weapons, also known as directed energy weapons.

According to the U.S. nonprofit think tank RAND Corporation, these weapons are of interest for countering unmanned systems, targeting missiles in flight, and even satellites in orbit.