12 June 2014
Baek Yun-hyung, the spokesman for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), told a press briefing that a defense project committee's meeting chaired earlier by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin decided to develop the long-range surface-to- air missile (L-SAM) based on its indigenous technology.
The L-SAM development was aimed at enhancing capability to intercept ballistic missiles at a higher altitude during the terminal phase, Baek said.
The development will be launched next year, and will take some seven to eight years to complete, said the spokesman, noting some 1 trillion won (980 million U.S. dollars) of budget will be earmarked for the development alone.
Meanwhile, Baek said the country will develop its own reconnaissance satellite to enhance capability of collecting imagery information on the Korean Peninsula.
Development of the satellite, which collects information while orbiting the earth, will be launched next year, and some 1 trillion won was expected to be spent on the development and production of a total of five satellites, said the spokesman.
The announcement came amid expectations that South Korea may purchase the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), developed by the U.S.-based Lockheed Martin, designed to intercept missiles at an altitude of 40-150 km.
Chief of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) said in early June that the United States was considering the deployment of the THAAD on the Korean Peninsula, noting he recommended the deployment as the commander.
Vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff James Winnefeld said on May 28 that the U.S. military was mulling an additional deployment of missile defense in the Asia-Pacific region to prepare for what he called threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The spokesman said that if the L-SAM development is completed, the multi-layered missile defense system will be established, noting PAC-3 and medium-range surface-to-air (M-SAM) missiles would intercept missiles at a lower altitude after the L-SAM may fail to shoot down missiles at a higher phase.
Regarding the THAAD, Baek said the THAAD and the L-SAM are not a target of comparison, adding the country is targeting intercepting missiles at an altitude of some 40 km, unlike the THAAD shooting down missiles as high as 150 km.
South Korea has pushed for the Korea Air and Missile Defense ( KAMD), or a South Korea-type MD system, which focuses on a terminal-phase, low-altitude missile defense. Seoul's Defense Ministry has said that the low-tier MD refers to intercepting missiles at an altitude of less than 100 km.
Seoul will upgrade its PAC-2 missiles to Lockheed Martin's PAC- 3 to shoot down missiles at an altitude of less than 40 km. The M- SAM will help PAC-3 intercept missiles at such altitudes.
The L-SAM will intercept missiles at an altitude of 40 km or above, moderating worries that the PAC-3 and the M-SAM may not be enough to shoot down missiles.
It will improve the multi-layered missile defense,
which the South Korean military has been targeting. The
multi-layered system means the failure of the first-stage
interceptors leads to the second-stage interception at