South Korean and US troops this week held joint future combat drills involving drones, an uncrewed vehicle and wearable laser sensors as part of efforts to modernize their militaries, Seoul’s army said yesterday.
The training came as South Korea’s military conducts a series of annual Hoguk autumn exercises aimed at improving responses to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
More than 120 soldiers from both sides joined forces to fight against a trained team of opposing forces in a mock-up town that appeared similar to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, built at the Korea Combat Training Center in the mountains in the eastern city of Inje.
The drills also mobilized high-tech weapons systems aimed at beefing up combat capabilities, with the troops wearing multiple integrated laser engagement systems (MILES), which use lasers to simulate actual battle.
Several drones were flown for reconnaissance purposes, some also firing an assault rifle, while South Korea dispatched a multipurpose uncrewed vehicle to carry wounded personnel.
Choi Jeong-il, a captain of the South Korean Army’s 25th Infantry Division, nicknamed the TIGER brigade, said the uncrewed assets and the MILES gear helped identify enemies and gauge the allied troops’ casualties.
“We were able to confirm the enemy’s movements using the drones, and hit them with the cutting-edge strike equipment, which allowed us to maximize the results of the operation while minimizing damage to our forces,” he said.
First Lieutenant Derek Chen from the Second Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the US Fourth Infantry Division said the drills offered an “eye-opening experience.”
South Korea’s army launched the TIGER brigade last year as a pilot unit for future warfare operations using artificial intelligence-powered drones and highly mobile fighting vehicles. It aims to transform all combat units based on that model by 2040.
The army also held what it called its first international future warfare competition for five days until yesterday, in which about 300 troops from five countries including the UK, Uzbekistan and Cambodia participated.
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