Seoul Set to Buy More Patriot Missiles

Seoul wants to buy an improved version of the Patriot anti-tactical missiles, the U.S. Defense Department said Saturday.

South Korea currently has about 300 Patriot missiles to intercept North Korean aircraft and ballistic missiles, but most are an old model. The new PAC-2 (GEM-T) missiles will allow the Army to intercept enemy missiles at an altitude of 10-15 km.

The U.S. Defense Department told Congress of a possible sale to South Korea of 112 "Patriot anti-tactical missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $404 million," the U.S. agency in charge of overseas sales of munitions said in a press release.

Once Congress approves the sale, the 112 missiles will be upgraded by defense contractor Raytheon to the GEM-T model by attaching a digital detonator.

The South Korean Army is also eyeing the latest model, the PAC-3 (ERINT), for acquisition in 2015. It can conduct "hit-to-kill" interception by directly hitting a target instead of exploding near the target and destroying it with shrapnel.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 28, 2013 10:37 KST

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