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    North Korea Is Testing a Fleet of Killer Drones

    Written by

    Brian Anderson

    Features Editor

    Pyongyang is believed to have a couple of these MQM Streakers, 70s-era US target drones (via)

    They may not rear their bulbous warheads anywhere in that nuke-y new music video, but killer drones are now apparently in Pyongyang's hands.

    It's been reported that as recently as last year North Korea had picked up a couple 1970s-era US target drones from Syria, though to think of North Korea--a country just barely making advances in the homebrew rocket department--possessing the chops to just up and enter the remote-war game with lethal capability has always been a severe stretch. If we're to believe a report from state-run KCNA news agency, that all changed early this morning.

    That's a big If. This is North Korea, after all, longtime saber-rattling champs. So don't get me wrong. I really don't want to make too big a deal of today's alleged drone drill--if it even happened--because we probably-maybe shouldn't. Yet. 

    Still, it is absolutely possible that NoKo indeed has "killer" drones and is beginning to test them. They'd likely be nothing beyond those ramshackle target drones from Syria, only rigged with explosives; or, some sort of alpha-stage kamikaze drone modeled off American "suicide" UAV. Hardly pinpoint-accurate hunter-killer robots. But to hear Kim Jong-un (who of course supervised the "attack") tell it, this morning's drone strike on a simulated South Korean target, together with recent chest-beating over what North Korea consideres "hostile" joint US-South Korea military drills, could suggest a near-bubbling over of tensions in the region. 

    "The (drone) planes were assigned the flight route and time with the targets in South Korea in mind," Kim Jong-un told state press, He added "with great satisfaction" that this new drone fleet demonstrated that it could wage "(a) super-precision attack on any enemy targets," KCNA  reported. 

    Just who'd meet "enemy target" criteria (there's a precedent for that) or, hell, whether North Korean citizens may one day find themselves in the crosshairs of a hunter-killer drone is anyone's guess. But what's perhaps most telling here, as Reuters reports, is that state media even gave the exact date of what's presumably North Korea's inaugural attack-drone drill, suggesting that whether Pyongyang is blowing smoke or not, it wants to be very clear with everybody that it's entered the attack-drone fray. And the timing is maybe no random bluster, either, with drills coming on the heels of a recent volley of suspected cyber attacks on South Korea

    Reach Brian at brian@motherboard.tv. @thebanderson // @VICEdrone