The South Korean army is evaluating several Israeli-produced unmanned air vehicle designs, with its interest having been spurred by heightened tensions with North Korea.

A first round of meetings between South Korean officials and Israeli manufacturers has been completed, with another planned within the next months.

Seoul's evaluation process is being made with the assistance of Sibat - the Israeli defence ministry division in charge of defence exports.

South Korean sources confirm that the process is covering "a number of types", but say the main interest at this stage is focused on the Israel Aerospace Industries Heron and Elbit Systems Hermes 450.

Recent increased tension with Pyongyang prompted the South Korean government to first meet Israeli representatives in the country to assess which types of defence equipment could be purchased almost immediately.

Israeli sources say any future UAV deal can be expected to include co-operation between the selected manufacturer and South Korean firms.

Source: Flight International