April 07, 2017 10:01
South Korea has recently succeeded in test-firing a homegrown ballistic missile, tentatively dubbed Hyunmu-2C, with a 800-km range, a military source said Thursday.
The news comes five years after the U.S. agreed to increase the permissible range of South Korean missiles from 300 km to 800 km. The new missile can hit any part of North Korea and is slated for deployment later this year.
It was test-fired at a test site of the Agency for Defense Development in Taean, South Chungcheong Province as Defense Minister Han Min-koo looked on, the source said. He added it "met standards in all categories" but was programmed to fly only a short distance.
Hyunmu-class missiles include the Hyunmu-2A with a range of 300 km, the Hyunmu-2B with a range of 500 km, and the Hyunmu-3 cruise missile with a range of 1,000 km.
Once the Hyunmu-2C is deployed, the military will be capable of hitting any target in North Korea from a safe distance in the south of the country that lies outside the range of the North's new 300-mm multiple rocket launchers and Scud-B missiles. It is designed to disable North Korean missile facilities in the early stages of a war.
Four North Korean missile bases that pose a threat to South Korea lie within 300 km from central South Korea, six within 400 km, and nine within 550 km.
In the 2012 negotiations with Washington on revising the missile guidelines, Seoul focused on the maximum payload as well as extension of the range.
Under the revised guidelines, it can now can develop 800 km-range ballistic missiles with a maximum payload of 500 kg, but if it increases the weight it has to shorten the range. The military is also believed to have made progress on rocket re-entry technology while developing the Hyunmu-2C.
Re-entry technology is needed because any missile with a range of more than 600 km briefly leaves the Earth's atmosphere.
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