South Korea's defense project promotion committee headed by defense minister Suh Wook approved a 2.89 trillion-won ($2.56 billion) project to develop its own interceptor system similar to Israel's Iron Dome.
Work on the project is expected to begin next year.
"The project is designed to secure an interceptor system with our own technologies to boost our capabilities of countering enemies' long-range artillery threats so as to protect core facilities and military and security infrastructure," Yonhap reported citing a Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) release.
Last year, the defense ministry pledged to build such an air defense system as a longer-term plan. The Iron Dome is designed to detect, identify and destroy incoming threats, such as short-range missiles, artillery shells and unmanned aerial vehicles.
During the meeting, the government also approved a plan to upgrade F-35A next-generation fighter jets through a government-to-government foreign military sale (FMS) program with the United States.
Seoul has introduced the advanced stealth fighters since 2019 to beef up air defense capabilities under a plan to deploy 40 units by this year. The upgrades will require 370 billion won by 2030, according to DAPA.
It also decided to develop a homegrown vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft for surveillance purposes by 2033 by earmarking 1.28 trillion won and to buy heavy-lift helicopters for the Army to replace aging CH-47 Chinook choppers by 2032 with a budget of 1.3 trillion won , the agency added.