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South Korea reviewing mass production of surface-to-air missiles

By Elizabeth Shim
Lt. Gen. Lee Wang-keun of South Korea’s air force (C) inspects a Cheongung anti-aircraft guided missile unit in Gangwon Province on Dec. 15. File Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Air Force/Yonhap
Lt. Gen. Lee Wang-keun of South Korea’s air force (C) inspects a Cheongung anti-aircraft guided missile unit in Gangwon Province on Dec. 15. File Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Air Force/Yonhap

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- South Korea's military is planning to mass produce the Cheongung, a self-developed midrange surface-to-air missile system after a reassessment or reappraisal.

The development of a long-range radar and an aerial infrared countermeasure may also restart after they were suspended, Newsis reported Tuesday.

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Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration made the announcements following the 108th arms acquisition project committee meeting.

Discussions of mass production of the Cheongung, also known as the Cheolmae-2, or KM-SAM, began on Nov. 17, according to the South Korean press report.

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The technology is part of the country's homegrown anti-missile systems, the Korean Air and Missile Defense.

KAMD in turn is part of South Korea's "three-axis system" that also includes Seoul's homegrown anti-missile systems and Kill Chain, a pre-emptive strike system.

Defense authorities said programs to develop a fixed long-range radar system to detect North Korea aircraft, and infrared countermeasures, are to be suspended following the discovery of flaws, but to be resumed as "soon as possible," according to Newsis.

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Yonhap reported Tuesday LIG Nex1, a local defense contractor, developed the radar that failed in an operational test in 2014.

"Multiple defects were found in the test and a violation of contract terms was also detected," DAPA said.

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South Korea's military is planning to make changes following the explosion of a K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer in August, News 1 reported Tuesday.

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The military plans to install a black box in the artillery and require personnel to wear flame-resistant combat uniforms, according to the report.

The explosion, caused by a mechanical flaw, wounded four soldiers and killed three, according to Yonhap.

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