Why South Korea is building a unique missile interceptor

A South Korea missile system that could be used to target North Korea Scuds will cost Seoul more than $800 million to develop, a Seoul defense committee said Nov. 17.

South Korea’s planned development for the system, which has the capability to destroy incoming ballistic missiles at an altitude of about 12.4 miles, comes at a time when North Korea may be on an “aggressive schedule” to deploy its first operational ballistic missile submarine.

South Korea’s defense committee said the purpose of M-SAM development is to “secure a medium-range and medium-sized interceptor system, in response to North Korea ballistic missile and aircraft attacks,” News 1 reported.

North Korea's Hwasong-14 missile. Photo from KCNA

North Korea’s Hwasong-14 missile. (Photo from KCNA)

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration and LIG Nex1 is developing the system.

Deployment was scheduled for after 2018, but plans came under scrutiny after Oct. 30, when a minor opposition party member claimed South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo had ordered the suspension of M-SAM development.

Related: North Korea May Have Equipped Two Submarines With Ballistic Missile Launch Tubes

But Seoul confirmed Nov. 17 M-SAM plans are being pursued.

According to News 1, the M-SAM could play a crucial role in intercepting midrange ballistic missiles, similar to the way SM-3 missiles are being deployed with the Japanese navy.

South Korea could also deploy the SM-3, but would not be able to do so until its military upgrades the Gwanggaeto-3 batch-2 Aegis ships after 2023.

A Gwanggaeto the Great-class Destroyer. (Photo from Republic of Korea Air Force)

A Gwanggaeto the Great-class Destroyer. (Photo from Republic of Korea Air Force)

The missile plans are being followed through at a time when North Korea could be constructing a new submarine, according to 38 North.

“A probable launch canister support, or launch canister, appears to be present within the service tower at the missile test stand [in Sinpo South Shipyard] suggesting the ongoing ejection testing of submarine launch ballistic missiles,” writes U.S. analyst Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr.

North Korea has refrained from provocations for about two months, and analysts have offered reasons as to why Pyongyang has stayed quiet after weeks of tests.

Related: 3 jokes that could get you sent to a firing squad in North Korea

Seoul’s national intelligence service said Friday North Korea is facing challenges in developing the re-entry technology for its intercontinental ballistic missiles, JTBC reported.

The missiles are a “financial burden” that is becoming harder to handle, the agency said.

TOP ARTICLES
7 things troops do on deployments that they won't admit to

Deployment downtime is basically just all of us doing dumb stuff that would make our grandmas question their "Support the Troops" bumper sticker.

5 things enlisted troops love but officers hate

Most officers want their troops to abide by all the rules while the members of the E-4 mafia just want to push the envelope as often as possible.

North Korea may now have a biological weapons program

U.S. intelligence officials sent a report to Congress warning that secret work was under way in North Korea on a biological weapon. Here's what we know.

This airman gave his life to protect his daughter

This airman, husband, and father died protecting his 5 year old daughter. Surrounding her body with his, he took the brunt of a falling building.

5 momentous military events that happened on Christmas

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Sometimes. Like in 1914 when British, German and French troops paused the war to observe the religious holiday.

What would happen if the Hanukkah story took place today

This is what a hypothetical Maccabee battle would look like with modern technology, forces, and funds behind it. Happy Hanukkah, everyone.

That time a Soviet citizen defected across the Korean DMZ

A Soviet citizen trying to defect sparked one of the biggest exchanges of gunfire between UN and North Korean forces at the DMZ since the Korean War.

This is how Navy SEALs swim out of a submerged submarine

Ever wonder how Navy SEALs get off of a submarine? This video'll show you all the specialized techniques used to manage underwater pressure.

Veterans unload on Roy Moore's comment about fighting in a foxhole

Roy Moore, so hated by his fellow soldiers in Vietnam that he feared they'd kill him with a grenade, got schooled on foxholes after distasteful comment.

China's new stealth fighter may be an enormous threat to the US

China's Chengdu J-20 is the first stealth jet produced by anyone other than the U.S. The jet, not fully stealth, is a mystery to some military planners.