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Iraq Eyes South Korea’s M-SAM-II Air Defense System for $2.6B: Report

Iraq has reportedly requested the M-SAM-II air and ballistic missile defense system from South Korea in a potential $2.56-billion deal.

Eight M-SAM-II batteries have been included in Baghdad’s wish list to be delivered on an “urgent” basis, according to a report by Army Recognition, citing a person familiar with the request.

Iraq’s planned acquisition comes more than a month after it announced it is again shopping for new air defense systems, for which Seoul is a preference.

This coincides with Iraqi Defense Minister Thabet Al-Abbasi’s meeting with his South Korean counterpart earlier this year to discuss military cooperation.

In March, Baghdad revealed that it had sent military and technical delegations to several countries to explore air defense options, including anti-aircraft weapons.

‘Hit-to-Kill’ Technology

Known in South Korea as Cheongung-II, the M-SAM-II system offers robust defense against hostile aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.

It employs “hit-to-kill” technology in which the kill vehicle intercepts incoming threats by colliding with them.

The air defense system also features cutting-edge radar for simultaneous detection and tracking of multiple targets.

It has an operational range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) and can hit incoming missiles at altitudes up to 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).

South Korea is now working on the development of M-SAM-III and L-SAM-II systems, which will boast enhanced capabilities.

In Demand

According to reports, the M-SAM-II has emerged as one of the most in-demand surface-to-air missile systems in the Middle East.

Besides Iraq, Saudi Arabia has also requested M-SAM-II batteries worth $3.2 billion, according to sources.

There are also ongoing negotiations with the UAE for the system for a proposed $3.5 billion.

The multibillion-dollar contracts solidify the system’s position as one of the most successful South Korean defense products alongside the K9 artillery system.

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