On Wednesday, South Korean officials unveiled photos of two rudimentary drones that crashed over the border, on South Korean land, around the same time the country exchanged live fire with North Korea. And, indeed, they think it was the North Koreans who sent the drones—if you want to call them drones, that is.
The unmanned aerial vehicles are, in fact, just a couple of model aircraft that have been outfitted with digital cameras and painted blue, presumably to blend in with the sky. One was found on Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea on Monday, and the other was found in Paju on March 24. South Korea thinks one of the drones also few over the presidential palace in Seoul. "Despite its crude designs, each aircraft seems to be faithful to its basic function—aerial espionage—by carrying a high-definition camera, which should never be ignored in terms of security," said Shin In-kyun from the Korea Defense Network.
Crude as they may be, however, it would be a major security breach if these aircraft managed to fly over the presidential palace without being pick up by radar. As such, a team of military, intelligence, and espionage experts are currently conducting an investigation into the matter. South Korean presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook told reporters, "The final investigation results have yet to come out, but a review is underway that North Korea is thought to have done it."
It wouldn't be a big surprise. Last year, Kim Jong-Un was displayed on North Korean state television while watching drone attacks during a military drill, and he said the drones were meant for South Korea. Drones also appear to have been showcased during a parade. The drones might not be the multimillion dollar aircraft the United States uses. Then again, they're not held together with packing tape, either. [WSJ, NYT]
Images via South Korean Ministry of Defence