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05:28 AM, March 19, 2019
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The Cheolmae-2 is designed for self-destruction in case of accidental firing (Image: Screengrab of Youtube video by ???? ????)

A South Korean surface-to-air guided missile self-exploded in mid-air after being launched while it was under maintenance at a base east of Seoul. No casualties or property damage was reported.

The Cheongung (KM-SAM), also known as Cheolmae-2 medium range surface-to-air missile system exploded on Monday morning in the vicinity of Chuncheon base, about 60 kms east of Seoul, Aju Daily reported quoting air force authorities as saying Monday.

Cheolmae-2, developed with Russian S-400 technology can intercept targets up to an altitude of 15 km. South Korea has strived to develop an independent three-tier aerial and missile defense system, based mainly on Russian technology. The missile is designed for self destruction.

The Cheolmae 4-H L-SAM, is an upper tier interceptor to offer capabilities similar to that of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, an advanced missile shield deployed by American troops in South Korea. Because US companies are reluctant to transfer technology, South Korean developers have forged strategic partnerships with Russian firms.

Policymakers have decided to deploy the first batch of seven batteries by 2023 for the Cheongung system which was compared to American Patriot systems. A complete battery consists of up to six transporter erector launchers (TELs), an X-band 3D radar, and a fire command vehicle.

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