Monday, 27 August 2012

Accuracy of South Korean precision-guided missiles unreliable

The accuracy rate of the South Korean military's precision-guided weapons is highly unpredictable due to a lack of live-fire drills, with some munitions falling short of standards, military data showed Sunday.

According to a report submitted to parliament by the Army, Navy and Air Force, the accuracy rate of precision-guided munitions ranged from 33 percent to 100 percent in 2011.

The Air Force's air-to-surface missiles, the AGM-142, recorded an accuracy rate of only 33 percent, while the AGM-84H air-to-surface missiles installed on the top-of-the-line F-15K fighters had an accuracy rate of 50 percent, the report showed.

The AIM-210 air-to-air missiles also had an accuracy rate of 50 percent, with the GBU-24 air-to-ground guided missiles, nicknamed bunker busters, recorded 85 percent.

In face-saving results, however, precision guided GBU-31 munitions installed on F-15Ks and KF-16s, as well as infrared guided air-to-air AIM-9X missiles and middle-distance air-to-ground guided AGM-65G missiles recorded perfect accuracy rates, the report noted.

In the case of the Navy, only the White Shark (Baeksangeo) torpedoes recorded a 100 percent rate, whereas the Blue Shark (Chungsangeo) torpedoes had an accuracy rate of only 50 percent.

In a meeting of the parliamentary defense committee last week, Noh Dae-rae, the chief of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, disclosed that the Navy test fired its Hongsangeo, or Red Shark, in waters near the southeastern port city of Pohang on July 25, but they sunk after failing to hit their target. The state-funded Agency for Defense Development developed the long-range ship-to-submarine light missile over nine years from 2000 with a budget of 100 billion won ($88.1 million) for use on some of South Korea's newest destroyers, including the KDX-II.

In the Army, the anti-tank guided Tow missiles had an accuracy rate of 76 percent.

"It is difficult to conduct a live-fire drill for expensive precision-guided weapons, particularly due to the need to stock up on a certain amount of munitions in preparation for a war," said a defense official, noting some precision-guided missiles cost 1 billion to 2 billion won per unit.

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