The launch pad of South Korea’s midrange surface-to-air missile system, named Cheongung II. The country agreed to export the anti-aircraft missile system to the United Arab Emirates in a deal worth up to $3.36 billion. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense
SEOUL, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- South Korea's Hanwha Defense, Hanwha Systems and LIG Nex1 have agreed to export a midrange surface-to-air missile system to the United Arab Emirates.
The deal is South Korea's largest arms export contract, which Hanwha Defense said Monday is worth more than $3.36 billion. It was signed during President Moon Jae-in's visit to the UAE on Sunday and Monday.
Under the deal, Hanwha Defense will build launchers and transporters, while Hanwha Systems will make the radar system. LIG Nex1 will be in charge of delivering the whole system, dubbed Cheongung II or M-SAM2, to the UAE Air Force.
Cheongung II is a guided anti-aircraft weapon system, which is also aimed at intercepting ballistic missiles. Korea's state-run Agency for Defense Development built it along with Hanwha and LIG Nex1.
The missile system was first supplied to the South Korean military in 2020. It beat other bidders from the United States and Israel to win the UAE contract.
"We will complete the contract to reinforce the UAE's military prowess. At the same time, we will help South Korea expand its defense exports," Hanwha Defense CEO Son Jae-il said in a statement.
The Seoul administration has tried to increase its exports in the defense industry.
Hanwha Defense agreed to export its Huntsman AS9 self-propelled artillery system to Australia last month. The company's "Redback" is trying to win over the Canberra administration, which is set to purchase 450 new tracked armored vehicles worth between $18 billion and $27 billion.
"The UAE is trying to modernize its military. Toward that end, the country appears to be proactively cooperating with South Korea. Hence, defense exports to the UAE are expected to continue," Professor Kim Jong-dae at Yonsei University told UPI News Korea.
Meanwhile, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into waters off the coast of Japan on Monday. It's the country's fourth missile launch in two weeks.