September 18, 2019 13:39
Korea plans to develop an anti-aircraft laser weapon by 2023 in preparation for threats like recent drone attacks on Saudi oil fields.
It eventually wants to upgrade it into a high-powered laser weapons system capable of intercepting even enemy fighter jets or reconnaissance satellites flying over the Korean Peninsula.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Tuesday it will invest about W88 billion beginning this year to develop the weapon and deploy it warfare-ready (US$1=W1,191).
The weapon will fire laser beams generated by optical fibers to destroy or neutralize targets, mostly small drones or multicopters flying within a few kilometers. It relies laser beams without the need for bullets or shells and therefore costs only about W2,000 per shot.
Hanwha Corporation is expected to develop a prototype.
Over the last decade, the Agency for Defense Development studied the option of combining, tracking and aiming laser beams but only succeeded in developing a weapon that is capable of puncturing the surface of a small stationary missile a few hundred meters away.
A DAPA spokesman said, "We're going to push a Korean-style 'star wars' project by improving the new weapon's performance so that it could intercept even fighter jets and satellites."
Several advanced countries have already developed or are developing drone-killer lasers. The U.S. has the 10 kw-laser Area Defense Anti-Munitions, Israel the 20 kw-laser Iron Beam, and the 20 to 30 kw High-Energy Laser effector. All of them are capable of intercepting drones flying at a low altitude of 1 to 2 km.
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