South Korea has developed a new pre-emptive strike weapon in the face of North Korean threats.
The weapon, a tactical ship-to-ground guided missile, will enhance South Korea’s ability to strike North Korea’s critical military facilities in the event of a crisis on the peninsula.
South Korea will begin mass-producing the missiles next year, reports the Yonhap News Agency, citing the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the South Korean arms procurement agency. The missiles, which can be fired using either inclined or vertical launch systems, will boost the firepower of the South’s next-generation frigates.
The inclined launch units will be used aboard the the 2,500-ton Incheon-class FFG Batch-I frigates, and the vertical launch units will be loaded onto the new 2,800-ton Daegu-class FFG Batch-II and III ships.
The South’s destroyers have ship-to-surface cruise missiles, but the smaller vessels lack the same kind of firepower, reports NK News. The new missiles will improve the capabilities of South Korea’s smaller frigates.
South Korea’s smaller warships are armed with anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons. The new missiles will give them the ability to fire on ground targets. The South Korean Navy “is now able to strike an enemy’s main bases and key facilities, including a ballistic launch system on the ground, from the sea,” Lee Sang-moon, head of the DAPA’s Guided Weapon Development Department under the Program Management Agency, said in a statement.
“The tactical ship-to-surface guided missile ‘dramatically improves’ the [South Korean Navy’s] ability to respond to the North’s provocations,” he added.
The warhead is said to be able to penetrate any armored vehicle. Furthermore, DAPA claims the weapon can destroy an area roughly the size of two football fields. The missile can strike “targets located in the vicinity of the enemy’s coast and major tactical ground targets,” DAPA explained.
The new missile will reportedly be incorporated into the South’s Kill Chain pre-emptive strike system, which allows South Korea to strike North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile facilities within half an hour, in the event of a military contingency.
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