The South Korean military will conduct its first live-firing exercise with US-built Hellfire air-surface missiles to be launched from Apache helicopters on Monday to beef up its air defense, the local media reports.
Eight Apache AH-64E attack helicopters belonging to the South Korean Army's Aviation Operations Command will be mobilized to fire one Hellfire missile each at a shooting range in the waters off the western coastal city of Gunsan later in the morning, Yonhap reports quoting a statement made by the Army.
"The Hellfire is a strong guided missile that can annihilate an enemy, as its name indicates. This is the first time the South Korean military has actually carried out a live-fire exercise with them," the Army said. The exercise is designed to "bring the Army's air fighting power up by one level after the adoption of the Apache helicopters in May last year".
Twelve Apaches will be part of the exercise, out of which eight will launch hellfire missiles at the targets in the shooting range to familiarize with the missile's performance.
The South Korean Army's Apache unit, with its equipment and personnel, is capable of destroying 570 enemy tanks, according to the Army.
"The adoption of the Hellfire missile has equipped the military with the ability to destroy various enemy targets from a longer distance and has increased the chances of our attack helicopters' survival and our destructiveness against enemy tanks," the Army said.
South Korea's Navy has deployed four additional AW-159 shipborne anti-submarine helicopters to a front-line fleet for combat operations. The Navy acquired eight AW-159 choppers, also known as Wildcats, last year in two batches in June and December, respectively
South Korea has completed a years long project to acquire the depot maintenance capability for the nation's advanced FA-50 light combat fighter jet. It will enable the military to save around 450 billion won ($390 million) in costs for the operation and maintenance of the fleet over the next 30 years, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, Yonhap reports
South Koreas new president, Moon Jae-in, has ordered an investigation on installation of four US-built THAAD anti-missile systems after the ministry failed to inform the new government on the latest development. The President initiated the probe after learning that a complete set of six launchers were on South Korean soil, Moons spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, told a media briefing Tuesday
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