February 15, 2013 12:08
The Defense Ministry on Thursday responded to North Korea's recent nuclear test by unveiling ship-to-shore and submarine-to-ground cruise missiles that have already been deployed warfare-ready.
Dubbed the Haeseong-2 and Haeseong-3, respectively, the missiles have been developed with South Korea's own technology.
They are both modified versions of a surface-to-surface cruise missile unveiled last year but are designed to be launched from a ship or a submarine. Their maximum range of 1,000 km covers all of North Korea.
The Haeseong-3 is a strategic weapon capable of being launched from a submarine that can stealthily approach the North Korean coast. Only a handful of countries have their own similar missiles. They include the U.S. (Tomahawk), the U.K. (Tomahawk), Russia (Klub-S), France (SCALP Naval), China, and India.
The missiles are said to be so accurate that they can hit a window-size target of 1-3 sq.m, and powerful enough to pulverize a soccer field-size area to rubble.
The Haeseong-3 will be carried by a new Type 214 submarine, and the Haeseong-2 on a 4,500 ton-class Korean Destroyer (KD) vessel or a 7,600 ton-class Aegis destroyer.
The Haeseong-3 is subsonic and takes about 20 minutes to fly up to 1,000 km. It would be launched from the torpedo tube of a submarine in a waterproof capsule. When the capsule breaks the water surface, its nosecap is blown off and the missile pops out.
The Haeseong-2 would be fired from a vertical launch tube. The King Sejong the Great Aegis destroyer carries 32 Haeseong-2s.
Maj. Gen. Yoo Young-jo of the Defense Ministry said, "Ship-to-shore and submarine-to-ground missiles are primary strike assets in the operational environment off the Korean Peninsula."
But they can hit only fixed targets, such as command posts or air bases, not moving targets like the mobile launch platforms of the North's ballistic missiles.
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