South Korea has recently implemented a plan to purchase a handful of new Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles from Lockheed Martin. This is part of a strategy to bulk up its existing defense, specifically against a ballistic missile threat from its hostile neighbor North Korea.
Endorsed on May 30 by a major decision-making committee composed of members of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the plan consists of government funding in the realm of 750 won (approximately $600 million USD) for the purpose of acquiring several PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapons across the next five years. At the same time, the South Korean government has not disclosed any details about how many missile interceptors they may have purchased or will be purchasing.
In a recent statement, DAPA said, “The latest decision to get more PAC-3 interceptor missiles is aimed at improving the existing air defense system over the Seoul metropolitan area and key state facilities.”
Indeed, these PAC-3 MSE interceptor missiles are an upgrade. These rockets have a two-pulse, solid-fueled motor that will surely increase altitude and their range of abilities to defend against continuously-evolving threats.
In addition to PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancements, the DAPA committee also approved upgrade plans for their existing PAC-2 launchers, which they will use with the new PAC-3 platforms. PAC-2 launchers allow missile interception of hostile targets at an altitude of approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles). The PAC-3 launchers, on the other hand, can intercept an incoming missile at double the altitude: roughly 40 meters.
DAPA goes on to say, “The buy of more PAC-3 missiles will help enhance our missile defense capability to thwart the ballistic missile threat.”