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Seoul to introduce new rifle-launcher as personal weapon in 2009

All Headlines 10:00 July 28, 2008

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- Starting next year, South Korea's armed service members will take into battle a new type of weapon that can fire both bullets and high-explosive grenades with a single trigger, the first of its kind in the world, the country's state weapons developer said Monday.

The new combined rifle and grenade launcher, yet to be officially named, will be put to use in 2009, after an eight-month performance test that ended in February proved the weapon's "battle capabilities," the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said.

"The next generation combined rifle can fire 5.56mm ammunition and 20mm high-explosive ammunition selected by a single trigger," the ADD said in a press release.

The 20mm ammunition used in the weapon also has a tracking device, which allows it to trace its target and explode 3 to 4 meters above it, maximizing its lethal rate, according to the ADD.

"If the new weapon is fielded as currently planned, our country will become the first nation in the world that operates precision-guided high-explosive ammunition," it said.

The South Korean military currently uses indigenous K-2 and U.S.-manufactured M-16 rifles for personal weapons.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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