November 10, 2014 12:35
Seoul will purchase some W1.5 trillion worth of PAC-3 interceptor missiles from the U.S. (US$1=W1,094). The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency last Thursday said that the State Department approved the sale of 136 PAC-3 missiles, including equipment, components, training, and support.
The major contractors are Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
The PAC-3 is to form the core of Korea's air and missile defense system and intercepts incoming ballistic missiles at an altitude of 30-40 km. The entire project will cost an estimated W17 trillion.
At the annual bilateral Security Consultative Meeting last month, Seoul won a delay of the handover of full control of South Korean troops in exchange for a promise to build the missile defense system capable of launching preemptive strikes on North Korea's nuclear and missile bases and mobile missile launch vehicles.
It is to be complete by 2020.
South Korea currently only has PAC-2 missiles that are chiefly used to intercept incoming aircraft, while relying on the U.S. Forces Korea for the PAC-3 against incoming missiles.
Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are staging a defense drill bringing together some 330,000 troops from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines until Nov. 21.
The drill, the largest since they began in 1996, aims to respond to North Korean exercises in preparation for a full-scale war. The U.S. is taking part by sending new weapons such as the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
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