South Korea us seeking to develop its own long range missile intercept system instead of paying about 3 trillion won ($2.6 billion) for the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo said, “It should be about, give or take, 3 trillion won,” during a parliamentary audit on Tuesday at the Air Force’s headquarters in the Gyeryongdae. He however did not provide details on the estimate and said that the figure was an approximate one, local media reports said.
Jeong said, “South Korea and the US are not currently in talks over THAAD purchase.”
THAAD is capable of shooting down short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles.
Seoul is seeking to develop its Long range surface to air missile with similar interception capabilities as part of its initiative to develop missile defense system, Yonhap reported.
A THAAD battery, which consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors, an air-transportable radar system and a fire and communications element, had widely been valued at 1 trillion won to 2 trillion won, and no more than two units would likely be put in place here.
Jeong also remained cautious about THAAD, saying the Air Force is pursuing the KAMD program and adopting the U.S. system may entail other problems such as bringing in necessary intelligence surveillance reconnaissance assets to operate alongside it.
“There are various conditions in order to operate THAAD,” he said. “The Defense Ministry will carefully review its stationing taking into account various security factors. On the military aspect, a THAAD deployment has pros and cons. It has merits and limits.”