South Korea tested a new ballistic missile, dubbed the Hyunmoo-4 in local media, in March, according to local press reports. File Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense
May 7 (UPI) -- South Korea's military tested a ballistic missile capable of carrying a 2-ton warhead in March, according to local reports on Thursday.
South Korean news service EDaily reported Thursday the launch took place quietly at the Anheung test site operated by the Korean Agency for Defense Development, or ADD.
The weapon has been dubbed the Hyunmoo-4. In 2017, South Korea conducted combined ballistic drills with the U.S. Eighth Army's Tactical Missile System, which included the firing of missiles from Seoul's Hyunmoo-2 launcher.
According to EDaily, Seoul's military began to develop a ballistic missile capable of carrying a 2-ton warhead in 2017, as a follow-up measure to the revision of missile guidelines between the United States and South Korea. The purpose of the revision was to abolish weight limits on South Korean ballistic missiles.
Prior to the bilateral agreement, the limits on South Korean weapons prohibited the country from developing short-range missiles capable of carrying more powerful warheads.
South Korean missiles with a range of up to 500 miles can now be equipped with more powerful warheads. A warhead weighing at least 1,100 pounds can destroy runways. A warhead weighing at least 2 tons can demolish North Korea core facilities, as well as bunkers built dozens of meters below, EDaily says.
The South Korean military currently deploys the Hyunmoo-2A, with a range of 186 miles, and the Hyunmoo-2B, with a range of 311 miles. The Hyunmoo-2A can be equipped with a 2-ton warhead, and the Hyunmoo-2B can carry a 1-ton warhead.
South Korea is developing the Hyunmoo-2C, a weapon with a 500-mile range capable of being equipped with a warhead weighing at least 1,100 pounds. The Hyunmoo-2C is capable of precision strikes against support systems of weapons of mass destruction. The Hyunmoo-4, tested in March, has a 500-mile range and capable of carrying a 2-ton warhead.
The United States and South Korea have slowed the pace of joint exercises and have yet to reach an agreement on defense burden sharing.
Yonhap reported Thursday Seoul's foreign ministry said there are differing viewpoints between the two sides, as the Trump administration seeks an increase in Seoul's contribution to costs.