South Korea has announced that it will build a multi-layered anti-long range missile and artillery interception system to defend against probable rocket and missile attacks primarily from arch-rival neighbour North Korea.
South Korea can also shield itself from attacks by neighbours such as Japan, China and Russia, among others, with this new system.
South Korea's proposed anti-missile defence system is similar to Israel's famed Iron Dome, built by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems (Rafael) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), only it will be even more formidable.
The South Korean government said last month that it plans to spend about $2.5 billion on research and development and will deploy the new system by 2035, reported Al Jazeera.
Reasons Behind Move
The three-year long war between North Korea and South Korea ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Thereafter, the military presence of both countries along the border is constantly being strengthened.
North Korea is reported to have 10,000 artillery units (including 240 mm rocket launchers) along the border known as the Military Demarcation Line, which less than 100 km from Seoul. These are aimed at Seoul, with a population of 2.5 crore, which is close to 50 percent of South Korea's total population.
North Korea has also developed nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in recent years.
In 2020, South Korea had announced the new Korea Tactical Surface to Surface Missiles (‘artillery killers’) with a range of 100 km but reports indicate that these would be too slow to fend off deadly attacks from North Korea.
South Korea’s new system will aim to defend the South Korean capital, its core facilities, as well as key military and security infrastructure from a potential North Korean bombardment, using interceptor missiles, according to the Al Jazeera report.
A few reports indicate that South Korea was in talks with Israel for an anti-missile system to augment and modernise its military systems. In 2009, South Korea bought the Green Block B (ground-based missile defence radar) from Israel for $215 million. It signed deals with IAI to buy radar systems from its subsidiary, Elta.
A decade ago, South Korea's senior defence officials visited Israel and they met Rafael and evinced interest in the Iron Dome. This was prompted by an attack on Yeonpyeong Island in end 2010.
Tougher than Iron Dome
South Korea intends to use more sophisticated technologies to intercept long-range artillery missiles and rockets from North Korea, as per Yonhap news agency report.
South Korea’s anti-missile defence system will take into account its typical mountainous geographical terrain as well as the climatic conditions. It will seek to defend against countries, and not terrorists or other attackers, as is the case with Israel and the Gaza conflict.
South Korea will seek to defend itself against more lethal and high impact bombardment by large cannons and rocket launchers from North Korea.
The new system will combine with the Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile systems to defend against North Korea’s attacks.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST