S.Korea to Upgrade Patriot Missile Defense

South Korea will procure new Patriot missiles capable of intercepting North Korea's ballistic missiles starting in 2016. The Defense Project Promotion Committee chaired by Minister Kim Kwan-jin reached the decision on Wednesday.

The military now has a PAC-2 Patriot air defense system which can destroy an incoming ballistic missile or aircraft with shrapnel by exploding near it.

But it has a low interception rate and debris from the exploded missile can cause damage on the ground.

In contrast, the newer PAC-3 has a higher interception rate and directly hits the target.

The PAC-3 will be able to intercept a North Korean ballistic missile at an altitude of 40 km. It is being produced by U.S. arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which also makes the F-35A, a candidate for South Korea's next-generation fighter system.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 13, 2014 09:43 KST

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