On June 28th, South Korea announce that it would invest $2.56 billion (2.89 trillion won) in developing an indigenous air defense system to intercept North Korean long-range artillery.
Not that it is under any threat, but it would like to prepare for the possible occasion.
A committee presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook approved the project, expected to be completed around 2035, the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement.
“Through this project, it is expected that the ability to respond to the threat of enemy long-range artillery will be strengthened, as well as securing domestic technology and creating domestic jobs,” it said.
The Ministry of National Defense has said while existing weapons such as the Patriot and THAAD missile defense systems are designed to target the North’s increasingly capable short-range ballistic missiles, the new system aims to protect against long-range artillery and multiple rocket launchers.
Pyongyang does not comment on its military deployment, but experts believe most of North Korea’s 13,600 guns and multiple rocket launchers are positioned near the border, about 40 km from Seoul.
“The project is designed to secure an interceptor system with our own technologies to boost our capabilities of countering enemies’ long-range artillery threats so as to protect core facilities and military and security infrastructure,” Yonhap News Agency quoted DAPA as saying.
It is a similar system to the Israeli Iron Dome, and in addition to artillery shells, it will be able to intercept short-range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
North Korea has around 1,000 units of artillery deployed along the Military Demarcation Line separating the two Koreas, “including 240-millimeter multiple rocket launchers,” the Seoul-based outlet reports.
The rocket launchers, particularly, are aimed to strike Seoul.
In addition to the new air defense system, South Korea’s defense project promotion committee has also announced a 370 billion won ($327 million) plan to upgrade its F-35A fighters “through a government-to-government foreign military sale (FMS) program with the United States.”
The program will see the US upgrade the country’s fleet of 40 F-35As by 2030, Yonhap News Agency wrote.
Another 1.28 trillion won ($1.13 billion) has been earmarked for the development of a home-grown vertical takeoff and landing surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle by 2033.
Additionally, 1.30 trillion won ($1.15 billion) has been set aside to purchase the replacement for the country’s aging CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift choppers by 2032.
The militarization is going on with full force, and various military drills with the US are happening despite Pyongyang’s opposition of them.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Young Hawk Trained For Hunting: South Korea Rolled Out New Advanced Supersonic Jet KF-21
- Satellite Imagery Suggests North Korea Prepping SLBM Test As It Criticizes UN And U.S.