South Korea has decided to develop an interceptor system like Israel’s “iron dome” to protect Seoul from North Korea’s long-range artillery and rocket launchers.
South Korean officials were apparently impressed that the Israeli system intercepted some 1,000 missiles fired from occupied Palestinian territories with over 90 percent accuracy last month.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration said it decided to go ahead with the project in a meeting chaired by Defense Minister Suh Wook on Monday. The project will kick off next year with a view to completion by 2035 and a budget of W2.89 trillion (US$1=W1,132).
It will harness technologies like the Navy’s Haegung interceptor missile and the U.S.’ miniature hit-to-kill missile.
North Korea deploys about 1,200 long-range artillery pieces near the border, and an estimated 340 are pointed directly at Seoul.
The military defended itself against complaints that deploying the shield in 15 years’ time might be too late. “We can’t import the Israeli iron dome system because we have a different security situation and need to develop our own,” a military source said. “Instead, we decided to complete development and deployment of our own system about two years earlier than you would normally expect.”
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