The South Korean military plans to soon deploy its locally-made M-SAM II air defence system (ADS) in response to the Pyongyang’s new missiles and rocket launchers shown at last Saturday’s military parade.
Speaking about Seoul’s anti-artillery and missile defense capabilities against the North’s short-range missiles, MoD spokesperson Col. Moon Hong-sik said Monday that the military can intercept the missiles through its PATRIOT and the soon-to-be-deployed locally-made M-SAM II ground-to-air missile systems.
“In case of simultaneous attacks (involving different types of missiles), we can immediately respond to and incapacitate them by operating not only the Korean-style missile defense system but also … other strategic striking systems,” Moon was quoted as saying by Korea Herald during a press briefing.
According to its manufacturer, South Korea’s Lig Nex 1, M-SAM (also called Chunggung) is a mid-range surface-to-air guided missile that can respond effectively to mid/high altitude aerial threats. In comparison with ‘HAWK’, the existing flagship air defense guided weapon (of South Korea) it is more suited for electronic warfare and shows higher accuracy. Preparation time is short and its single radar can attack multiple targets at once, requiring only a small number of people for operation.
The range of the M-SAM (also called KM-SAM) is described as 40 km. The 4.6-metre long missiles, which are launched vertically on wheeled Transporter, Erector and Launchers (TEL), have a top speed of Mach 4.5 and an altitude of between 15 and 20 km.
A KM-SAM battery consists of four TELs with eight missile launch tubes each, a multifunction radar, and Command and Control (C2) centre.
An upgraded version the KM-SAM II (or Block II) was declared fit for operations in 2017, marking the completion of its development phase led by South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development and LIG Nex1. The Block 2 was especially designed (with inputs from Almaz-Antey of Russia) to work as a hit-to-kill missile interceptor to counter North Korea’s ballistic missile arsenal. The Block 2 is able to engage incoming ballistic missiles at altitudes of up to 20 km.
The Block 2 was declared fit for operations in 2017, marking the completion of its development phase led by South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development alongside local companies such as LIG Nex1.