South Korea has developed a new radar system to detect North Korean artillery units, an immediate and ever-present threat.
While North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs receive the most attention, North Korean artillery poses a serious threat to South Korea. The North is said to have one of the world’s largest artillery forces, and most of the artillery pieces — of which there are thousands — are already in position, entrenched and camouflaged. Some observers suspect that in the event of a conflict, North Korea could destroy Seoul in less than two hours.
Some estimates suggest that the Korean People’s Army could hit Seoul with at least 500,000 shells in less than an hour. The U.S. and its allies could destroy the North’s artillery units eventually, but not before the destruction of South Korea’s capital. The damage could be even worse if the North Koreans decided to use chemical rounds.
South Korea appears to have found a new defensive tool to protect its cities from North Korean artillery.
The South’s new radar system can detect North Korean artillery units over 40 miles away. The South Korean military presently has a number of ARTHUR (Artillery Hunting Radar) units with ranges around 25 miles, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration revealed in a statement, according to Yonhap News Agency. The radar can also run for eight hours straight, about two hours longer than its Swedish predecessor.
The 170 mm Koksan has a range of about 25 miles with conventional shells, but with rocket-assisted shells, the range can be extended to just under 40 miles, putting Seoul — located just 35 miles from the border, within firing range.
The new radar system cost $47.7 million and took six years to develop. It is expected to be operational by 2018, at which point it will be used to track howitzer, mortar, and rocket artillery units.
“With the successful development of the counter-battery radar, our military has laid the groundwork for destroying the origin of the enemy’s provocations, if carried out, in the early stage of combat, through immediate counter-fire,” Army Colonel Kim Dong-ho, a senior DAPA official, told reporters.
The new system is assessed to be “fit for combat use,” DAPA said in a statement.
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