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Military to expand missile range to cover all of N.Korea

Military to expand missile range to cover all of N.Korea

Posted October. 08, 2012 04:11,   


The range of South Korea’s ballistic missiles will be expanded 2.7 times from 300 kilometers to 800 kilometers, and the weight of the country`s warheads will increase up to four times for the first time in 11 years.

This will enable the South’s missiles to strike missile bases and nuclear facilities in North Korea, which are located about 500 kilometers from South Korea’s central regions, including Daejeon, and cover all of the Stalinist country, including the northern tip of North Hamgyong Province.

Attention is focused on the effect the expanded missile range will have on the political situation in this “era of chaos in Northeast Asia,” when South Korea, China and Japan are entangled in dispute over territory and history and the U.S. and China are engaged in a war of nerves in seeking to expand their influence.

Chun Yung-woo, South Korean presidential secretary for national security, told a media briefing at the presidential office Sunday, “South Korea has revised its bilateral missile guidelines with the U.S. that were adopted in 2001, and handed over revised guidelines to the U.S. government Friday,” adding, “We`ve revised the missile guidelines as a comprehensive measure to cope with the North’s nuclear weapons and missile threats.”

Following the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak administration in 2008, Seoul and Washington have been negotiating to revise the missile range since September 2010.

In the wake of the revision, the maximum range of South Korea’s ballistic missiles is set to increase to 800 kilometers, while the weight of warheads can increase in reverse proportion to the range based on a trade-off method. As a result, Seoul can increase the weight of a warhead on a missile with a range of 550 kilometers to one ton, and increase that of the Hyunmu-2A missile (300-kilometer range) that were deployed to two tons, significantly increasing its firepower.

A South Korean military source said, “South Korea can complete the development of a ballistic missile with an 800-kilometer range with its own technology in one to two years.”

Seoul also increased the load weight of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are considered core capacity in future warfare, from 500 kilograms to 2.5 tons, raising the possibility for the development of a Korean-style drone. The weight is larger than the maximum load weight of 2.25 tons of the Global Hawk, the world’s largest ultra-high altitude unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that South Korea seeks to introduce.

Another military source said, “If the load weight is increased to 2.5 tons, an unmanned aerial vehicle can be loaded with not only a surveillance camera but also up to six units of joint direct attack munition, which can destroy underground facilities of the North’s military bases.”

As for cruise missiles, South Korea plans no changes to the guidelines suggesting no limit on warhead weight for those with a range of up to 300 kilometers, and no range limit for those with a warhead weight of up to 500 kilograms.

The development of a solid fuel-powered space rocket for civilian purposes will also be banned. In the negotiations, the U.S. reportedly opposed this on the grounds that it could lead to the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.