South Korea may lease a reconnaissance satellite from Israel to obtain information on North Korea’s military activities, military officials told the Yonhap news agency Tuesday. Currently, South Korea relies on US reconnaissance satellites for military information on the North’s nuclear and missile-related maneuvers.
“The military is expected to have its own surveillance satellites as early as 2023 that will allow Seoul to closely monitor military activities in North Korea,” a ministry official said, adding that this “is years behind the defense ministry’s original schedule to deploy five surveillance satellites between 2021 and 2022 as part of the country’s ‘kill chain’ strike system to deal with missile threats from the North.”
Faced with increasing nuclear and missile threats by the North, the government is looking to lease a reconnaissance satellite from Israel or other foreign countries, the official said.
Last September Israel launched the Ofek 11 satellite, with better spying capabilities than its predecessors, such as following targets with a higher efficiency and accuracy than previous spy satellites.
Pyongyang has conducted five nuclear tests in the past decade and launched a series of missiles, including an intermediate-range ballistic missile which is believed to be capable of reaching US territories in the Pacific like Guam.