South Korea test fired two homegrown ballistic missiles in response to North’s missile launch on Friday, one of which crashed into the sea immediately after the launch.
The missile is question is Hyunmoo II-A intermediate-range ballistic missile that splashed into the East Sea within a few seconds of being launched. The other flew 250 kilometers and hit its intended target accurately in a simulated pre-emptive strike, The Korean Herald reports citing a statement made by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“We’re trying to determine the exact cause of its failure,” a Seoul military source was quoted as saying. “We believe there was no damage to the area near the test site,” the source added.
The report says the tests conducted by Seoul were immediately after North Korea launched an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 from the vicinity of Sunan airport near Pyongyang early Friday morning.
Capable of traveling 300 kilometers and carrying up to a 1.5-ton warhead, the Hyunmoo II-A missile has been billed as a key asset for the South Korean military to destroy North Korea’s underground nuclear sites, missile facilities and wartime commands.
Besides the Hyunmoo II-A, South Korea has Hyunmoo II-B that can fly about 500 kilometers, carrying a 1-ton warhead and Hyunmoo II-C can travel about 800 kilometers, putting nearly all of North Korea within its range.
South Korea has also developed the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missile with a range of 1,000 km. The new missile is currently in a testing phase.