In a recent display of technological prowess, North Korea showcased two new drone models that bear a striking resemblance to American-manufactured drones at the Weapons and Equipment Exhibition 2023. The unveiling, attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, revealed the “Morning Star-4” and “Morning Star-9” drones, analogous to the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper, respectively.

The Designed Parallels

The uncanny similarity in the designations of the North Korean鈥攐fficially Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)鈥攄rones to their U.S. counterparts, RQ-4 and MQ-9, raised eyebrows in the global defense community.

Satellite images from June initially spotted the two drones, with the Global Hawk-type drone resembling the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk and its variants in appearance and size. With an approximate wingspan of 115 feet (35 meters), this drone is likely geared for high-altitude, extended-distance flights.

Side-by-side comparison of North Korea’s Morning Star-9 (upper) vs. General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (lower) / Image source: Twitter

The Reaper-type drone, displayed alongside the Global Hawk lookalike, featured a smaller wingspan and was showcased with various missiles, including a Hellfire-like weapon. However, specifics about the drones’ capabilities and missions remain undisclosed, adding to the intrigue surrounding their true potential.