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.