North Korea may have added new — well, new to it — drones to its weaponized aviation fleet. Defense Tech informs that a Korean news agency has reported North Korea bought MQM-107D Streaker target drones, a design which was first developed in the United States in the 1970s by Beech Aircraft.
Yonhap News states that the drones were purchased from Syria with the expectation that the technology on the drones will be improved and targeted toward South Korea:
“North Korea recently bought several U.S. MQM-107D Streakers from a Middle Eastern nation that appears to be Syria, and is developing unmanned attack aircraft based on them,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
The MQM-107D Streaker is a high-speed target drone used by the U.S. and South Korean militaries for testing guided missiles.
North Korea has conducted numerous tests on high-speed target drones mounted with high explosives, but has yet to master the technology, the source said, citing South Korean intelligence sources.
Even though the technology may be outdated compared to other drones like the RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which was captured by Iran late in 2011, Fox News reports that the Streaker drone can fly at an altitude of 40,000 feet at 575 mph. The version of the Streaker target drone reportedly purchased by North Korea was introduced in 1987. The design ceased production and began phasing out in 2003 with its replacement being the BQM-167 Skeeter.