November 16, 2023 13:45
Washington on Tuesday approved the potential sale of Standard Missile 6 missiles to South Korea. This will make it possible for the South Korean Navy to intercept North Korean ballistic and cruise missiles at sea.
The U.S. State Department approved the sale of US$650 million worth of SM-6 missiles and equipment for South Korea, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in an announcement.
Back in March, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration asked to buy up to 38 SM-6 missiles. They will be delivered once their sale is endorsed by U.S. Congress.
With a range of more than 400 km, SM-6 missiles can intercept airplanes, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles with their own guidance radar that makes it possible to directly track targets. Last year, the U.S. decided to sell them to Japan as well.
"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region," the DSCA said.
Meanwhile, the official [North Korean] Central News Agency said Wednesday that the regime succeeded in testing a solid-fuel engine for a new intermediate-range ballistic missile. With a range of 1,000 to 4,000 km, it is capable of striking not only South Korea, but also U.S. bases on Guam.
Solid-fuel ballistic missiles can be used in a surprise attack as they require shorter preparation time than liquid-fuel missiles. The North is expected to test-launch a new solid-fuel IRBM soon.
The South Korean and U.S. air forces the same day staged a joint air drill with a B-52 strategic bomber over the Korean Peninsula, and a U.S. aircraft carrier will dock at the Busan naval base next week. "Regular deployment of U.S. strategic assets is now becoming a routine to the extent that they are a constant presence here," a military spokesman here said.
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