Has the Government Thought Through New Arms Projects?

      December 08, 2015 13:31

      Jun Hyun-suk

      The Defense Ministry on Sunday announced it wants to develop an unmanned stealth attack aircraft that can carry out precision strikes on North Korea's long-range artillery and mobile missile launch vehicles.

      The ministry claims the drone is part of the government's "creative economy" initiative.

      But it sounds suspiciously like a rehash of the so-called "Lightning" project in 2011 that aimed to develop a precision-guided ballistic missile with a maximum range of 100 km. The government said in early 2013 it has secretly completed the system capable of destroying North Korea's multiple rocket launchers and long-range artillery within five minutes after fighting escalates. A year later it was scrapped due to insurmountable technical problems.

      Then there are the "Cheonmu" multiple-launch rocket system and plans to extend the range of the 155-mm howitzer rounds. The drone project has led to predictable criticism that the military is embarking on yet another costly project simply to get into President Park Geun-hye's good books by paying lip-service to her policy ideas.

      When questions arose in the early phase of the Park administration over the exact definition of her "creative economy," a key Cheong Wa Dae official said, "The opposite of creativity is imitation. A creative economy refers to the pursuit of a new path without copying others."

      But spending huge sums of money to develop weapons that already exist elsewhere is not very creative. Of course money should be no object when it comes to protecting the lives of citizens, but the government needs to be absolutely sure that the projects will live up to their goals.

      By Jun Hyun-suk from the Chosun Ilbo's News Desk

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