U.A.E. to Buy M-SAM Missiles from Seoul for $3.5B

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The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) announced plans to acquire M-SAM missiles from South Korea for $3.5 billion.

On Tuesday, the U.A.E. Ministry of Defense confirmed plans in a tweet.

Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) describes the Cheongung II (KM-SAM, M-SAM or Cheolmae-2) upgraded system to be Seoul’s first indigenously-developed medium-range surface-to-air guided missile. The system is built based on technology from the 9M96 missile used on S-350E and S-400 missile systems.

It is equipped with multifunction radar to strike aircraft and missiles simultaneously. The modernization project was kick-started in 2021. The system is said to have recorded a 100% accuracy rate at multiple test launches.

The M-SAM system developed by LIG Nex1 and Hanwha Systems is a core element of South Korea’s multi-layered anti-missile program. Employing the “hit-to-kill” technology, the missile is designed to intercept hostile missiles coming in at altitudes below 40km.

South Korea launched the project to develop the M-SAM in 2012. The missile passed a suitability evaluation for field operations in 2017, and its mass-production began the following year.