Tuesday, 18 September 2012

S. Korea develops guided missile targeting N. Korea's underground artillery bases

South Korea has developed a short-range ballistic missile aimed at destroying underground artillery bases in North Korea, a lawmaker of the parliamentary defense committee said Tuesday.

   The Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed committee members in a closed-door meeting Monday that the military has succeeded in developing the guided missile with a range of 100 kilometers and successfully conducted test-firing in May, according to a lawmaker who attended the briefing.

   The missile is designed to be fired from a multiple launch rocket system and uses a ground-based navigation system, which is resistant to GPS (global positioning system) jamming signals, to fly to targets.

   "The JCS briefed that it has succeeded in developing a guided-missile designed to destroy underground artillery bases and plans to enter into mass production," the lawmaker told Yonhap News by phone.

   According to another committee member, the JCS reported the missile's guiding system needs improvement, but other core technologies, such as the capabilities to penetrate underground bunkers and locate tunnel entrances, have been completed.

   The JCS also showed committee members a video of the test-firing, the lawmaker said.

   The project was launched by President Lee Myung-bak after the North shelled the front-line island of Yeonpyeong near the tense western sea border in November 2010, killing four South Koreans, including two civilians.

   The project is in line with the military's move to beef up its missile defense. The defense ministry earlier this month submitted a revised mid-term budget plan, which set aside 2.7 trillion won (US$2.3 billion) to secure hundreds of tactical weapons in the next five years.

   Pyongyang unsuccessfully tried to launch a rocket in April, which was seen as a long-range missile test in disguise. The international community remains concerned about North Korea's development of ballistic missiles, especially those that can carry nuclear bombs.

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