KRQ-101 / Songgolmae / Night Intruder 300
Carrying out the Kill Chain pre-emptive system operations to strike North Korea’s ballistic missiles in near real-time before they can be launched requires raising the reconnaissance capabilities of forward units in a groundbreaking manner. In 2000, the ADD and Korea Aerospace Industries launched the country’s first homegrown UAV ? nicknamed the Songgolmae, RQ-101 or Night Intruder-300 ? and its deployment started two years later. A fixed-wing UAV with a 200-kilometer range and 45-kilogram payload capacity, the aircraft is designed to serve various missions such as aerial and battlefield surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition and bombing guidance, transferring real-time images even in unfavorable environments. The locally developed drone, measuring 5 meters in length with a 6.5 meter wingspan, has an operation radius of 100 kilometers and can stay airborne for four to five hours.
As Korea’s first Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Night Intruder 300 performs its missions of Area Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Target Acquisition, Battle Field Surveillance, and Target Damage Assessment. This UAV is the definitive version of what began life in 1991 as the Daewoo (now KAI) Doyosae, developed with support from the Agency for Defence Development (ADD). South Korea’s ADD and Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. (KAI) began developing the Night Intruder 300 (initially called Pijo, literally, “flying bird”) reconnaissance UAV in 1990, and first flown in 1993.
At the Seoul Air Show in late 1996 Daewoo briefly showed a more fully developed TRPV-1 Doyosae, designated XSR-1. No details were released, but press reports at the time suggested a possible service entry with the South Korean Army in 1998; however, development of the Night Intruder was not completed until August 2000, after more than 100 flight tests.
The Night Intruder 300 is a fixed-wing UAV with a 200 km range and 45 kg (99 lb) payload capability (devoted to infrared sensors and synthetic aperture radar). The Night Intruder 300 made its public debut at Seoul in October 2001, wearing the designation XKRQ-101, and is now in service. A production contract was awarded in 2001, and production continued through 2004. The delivery of five Night Intruder 300 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems to the Republic of Korea (South Korea - RoK) Army is complete. Deliveries were completed in December 2004. Other indigenous programs have been funded, but the heart of the country’s UAV capability as of 2003 lay in purchases of Israel’s Harpy.
The nation's first strategic UAV (Night Intruder 300) is designed on multipurpose operations to perform missions like wide area surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, battlefield supervision & checking target break-down, and it is also possible to transfer real-time images, especially in unfavorable environments during day and night. It is performing its missions such as aerial surveillance and reconnaissance, target acquisition, battlefield surveillance and bombing guidance.
After the South Korean military was slammed for the invasion of small drones speculated to be made in North Korea, the military released two types of the latest drones in their possession along with their capability to collect North Korean intelligence. The military had previously introduced the actual reconnaissance equipment, usually considered confidential, but this is the first time they have released it in action. Some were criticizing that the military is revealing all its cards to highlight the contrast with the rudimentary technology of the North Korean drones.
The military revealed in April 2014 a drone operated at the corps level, the Songgolmae, in training at a military base in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province. The Songgolmae, which is 4.8m long and has a wingspan of 6.4m can fly up to 150km/h at an altitude of 4km. It has a radius of 80km and can fly up to 4 hours. A ground control facility installed in a military truck controlled the Songgolmae in the air with a joystick and received live images. During the day, it can capture up to 20km north of the Military Demarcation Line, and at night, 10km. The military announced that the Intelligence Battalion in the Capital Corps which operates the drone has operated the Songgolmae on 620 reconnaissance missions for 1,146 hours since 2005.