The Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Defense Reform Plan addressed the transformation of the ROK military structure by a significant military personnel reduction. The decreased number of forces in the ROK Army (ROKA) will cause significant issues in covering the force’s area of responsibility. In particular, the ROK rear area forces will have more difficulties in carrying out ROKA’s rear area operations (RAO).

As part of the efforts to address these problems, the Korea Ministry of National Defense decided to strengthen the battlefield visualization capability of each echelon by distributing the new hand-launched Remoeye-002B to battalion-level units and division-level KUS-9 to division-level units. However, the distribution of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is limited to the frontline forces; distribution to the rear area forces has still not been achieved due to the Korean military’s budget constraints.

This feasibility analysis allows the ROK to determine the optimum required operational capability (ROC) of the UAVs for the Korean RAO. Since there is an insufficient amount of information and studies related to the utilization of UAVs in the ROK military, insights from this research will serve as a guide to acquisition strategies of future UAVs for supporting Korean RAO.

In order to get the proper ROC, this research uses Map Aware Non-Uniform Automata (MANA), an agent-based simulation software platform. It first examines the effects of deploying Remoeye-002B at the battalion level in the Korean rear area. Applying computer experimentation in a terminal high-altitude area defense (THAAD) scenario provides insights to the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities that the force requires. Advanced experimental designs efficiently explore single and combined characteristics of a UAV that can best improve the surveillance mission. Regression analysis and partitioning tree analysis assist in examining 260 options. In addition, a relative cost analysis identifies the most cost-effective design option.

Figure 2. Relative Efficiency Frontier (for Measures of Effectiveness 2).

The simulation results of the scenario with no UAVs show that there is a need to strengthen the ISR capabilities of the ROKA rear area forces. The deployment of Remoeye-002Bs to rear area forces results in significant improvements on RAO, but Remoeye-002B capabilities are insufficient to support Korean RAO. Thus, the need was found for procuring a more capable UAV than Remoeye-002B.

To get the proper ROC, more computer experimentation results were analyzed. The linear regression indicated the number of UAV sets has the largest impact on the Korean RAO. The contour plot showed that purchasing just one set of UAVs with a higher sensor capability could result in the same performance as two or more sets of UAVs with lower sensor capabilities. The partition tree analysis identifies that there are six design options, which meet the operational goals by using a single UAV set. In addition, a cost estimation on the total price of the system represented for all 260 options was performed. A relative cost analysis found that these six design options are the most cost-effective options. Among them, design point (DP) 58 is the cheapest at $592,524. It also has high mission success probability of 98.8%. Therefore, it can be concluded that DP 58 is the best design option for rear area forces ( Figure 1and Figure 2).

This work was done by Sangbum Kim for the Naval Postgraduate School. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) below. NPS-0017


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Feasibility Analysis of UAV Technology to Improve Tactical Surveillance in South Korea’s Rear Area Operations

(reference NPS-0017) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the June, 2021 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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