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South Korea Announces Air-Launched Cruise Missile Program

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced its first long-range air-launched cruise missile development program on Monday.

Major Korean defense contractors LIG Nex1 and Hanwha Aerospace will be part of the $145 million program, which is expected to be complete by 2028.

500-Kilometer Range

Once inducted, the Cheon Ryong missile will be the Korean KF-21 fighter’s primary ground-attack missile, with a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles).

The Korean Aerospace Industries aircraft is expected to be ready for mass production by 2028.

Korea’s First Air-Launched Cruise Missile

The Cheon Ryong will be Seoul’s first domestically-developed air-launched cruise missile.

The country lacks the technology to install and launch air-launched missiles currently. However, DAPA reportedly conducted internal research on technologies for the missile between 2019 and 2021. 

The developers conducted live-fire launches of the missile from F-4E Phantom aircraft.

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