North Korea has deployed about 300 new multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) along its front line with South Korea, Seoul’s military officials told Yonhap Sunday.
According to the report, Pyongyang has placed the 122 millimeter rocket launchers north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.
"The North has been deploying the new rocket launchers with regimental units along the DMZ since 2014," an official insider told Yonhap.
There are two known variants of the MLRS, with an estimated range of some 30 kilometers and the other having 40. If the North fired off 30-barrel launchers all at once, it could send some 9,000 rockets into the South, according to the report.
The military said the rockets could place most of north Gyeonggi Province within their range, and theoretically hit northern parts of Seoul like the presidential Cheong Wa Dae and some areas of Incheon.
They will augment Seoul’s 170 mm very long range self-propelled artillery pieces that can send shells 53 kilometers down range and the 240 mm MLRS that can fire projectiles as far as 64 kilometers. These large caliber rocket launcher systems will cover all of Seoul if placed near the inter-Korean border and reach as far south as Ansan and Seongnam, the military claims.
“The new rockets will increase the number of MLRS and long-range artillery along the DMZ to over 600," another source said. He added if the North fields the even larger 300 mm rocket launcher systems with a range of around 200 km, it could target Gyeyong, where the headquarters of the South Korean military is located, as well as the US military base in Pyeongtaek.
Meanwhile, the defense ministry said it cannot confirm if the 122 mm MLRS have been deployed but stressed countermeasures to deal with such systems are included in the 2017-2021 midterm national defense plan.
According to the defense plan, the ministry had said in March that it plans to develop ground-to-ground guided munitions to tackle threats from North Korea. The ground-to-ground counter-artillery guided munitions that Seoul plans to develop will reportedly have a range of about 74 miles and will target to destroy North Korea’s multiple rocket launchers.
North Korea has been jamming Seouls Global Positioning System (GPS) signals since last month, according to South Korean officials. The signals began last week and continued on and off till February 6, Yonhap news reported quoting the military and information and communication technology (ICT) sector officials as saying
South Koreas military is seeking to deploy 100 additional units of the locally built K2 Black Panther tanks to strengthen frontline defense against North Korea. "The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) submitted the request citing the need for 100 or so more K2 tanks in October and the Ministry of National Defense is carrying out a verification of the demand," the military official told Yonhap
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