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South Korea to Develop Hypersonic Missile Defense System

The South Korean government has approved a plan for long-range missile defense system development.

The long-range surface-to-air missile (L-SAM) II will be developed from 2024-2035 for 2.71 trillion Korean won ($2.03 billion), Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

The outlet added that the system will have interceptors for high-altitude and glide-phase targets such as hypersonic missiles.

Greater Range Than L-SAM 

The system is expected to have three times the range of the L-SAM missile defense system under development, which is scheduled for deployment by 2027.

The L-SAM is expected to have a range of 150 kilometers (93 miles) and an altitude of 40 to 100 kilometers (25 to 62 miles).

The Korean government’s Defense Project Promotion Committee also endorsed the development of the mid-range surface-to-air missile (M-SAM) Block-III system for 2.83 trillion Korean won ($2.10 billion).

The system is expected to be ready by 2034.

‘Iron Dome’-Type Air Defense System 

“Through this project, we expect to enhance deterrence capabilities against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and contribute to the advancement of the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KMD) system,” Yonhap News Agency quoted DAPA as saying.

Seoul is developing the 2.89 trillion Korean won ($2.56 billion) KMD to counter North Korea’s artillery, short-range missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. 

The KMD is part of the country’s three-axis defense strategy, including “the Kill Chain preemptive strike system and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation, an operational plan to incapacitate the North Korean leadership in a major conflict.”

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