The Agency for Defense Development is developing a bomb capable of destroying North Korean coastal bunkers or caves housing long-range artillery pieces. Future Hope Alliance lawmaker Song Young-sun of the National Assembly Defense Committee said the ADD launched a W6.2 billion project last year to develop a so-called bunker buster bomb that is capable of penetrating 1.5-m concrete walls and plans to complete it by 2013 (US$1=W1,163).
"To my knowledge the warhead will be equipped with a mid-range GPS device and will be deployed with 500-pound guided bomb units for precision attacks against targets hidden in caves," she added.
A military official said North Korean artillery positions are protected by 50 to 60-cm walls so a bomb capable of penetrating 1.5-m walls "is more than enough to destroy most bunkers and other positions hiding airplanes and tanks."
The ADD will apparently begin developing another bomb that is capable of destroying North Korean underground facilities hidden under 5-6 m thick barriers once the bunker-buster bomb is completed.
North Korean long-range artillery cannons are usually hidden in fortified caves and rolled out to fire shots and pushed back all within four to six minutes. As a result, South Korean forces were unable to mount effective counterattacks using K-9 howitzers following the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November last year.
The ADD is also working on other technologies to add stabilizing fins to howitzers to extend their range and to boost explosive power of thermobaric bombs with nanocomposite materials.