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Robot surveillance system to join border guard mission
May 4, 2005
The Defense Ministry plans to introduce a robot surveillance system for the defense of frontline areas along the inter-Korean border by 2011, an MND spokesman announced on April 8.
The six-year project was initiated last October to strengthen surveillance along the heavily fortified border with North Korea, spokesman Shin Hyun-don said. "The gist of this project is to transform the current guard and observation mission on fronts conducted by soldiers into one by a robot system," Shin said. "We will comprehensively review requirements of operational capability before implementing it."
The ministry will study the project's effectiveness this year in cooperation with the Agency for Defense Development and the Ministry of Information and Technology, the spokesman said.
The ministry will select a business contractor next year and the project will be gradually implemented from 2007, after a feasibility study.
One option is to upgrade the Aegis Robot (intelligence surveillance and combat robot) that was deployed to Iraq last October, ministry officials said. The robot is equipped with a temperature and image sensor that detects and tracks a suspected target. It also has an auto-firing capability. Currently, two robots are being operated in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, where some 3,500 South Korean troops are stationed for the reconstruction mission.
"The Aegis Robot has a shortcoming in that a firing should be controlled by a staff member of the commander and control center, and it's also questionable if it can be applied to the eastern fronts that have jagged areas," Shin said. "We will investigate these matters more extensively."
The system along the 253 kilometer-long barbed wired fence is expected to cost an estimated 20 billion won ($1.9 billion), ministry officials said.