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S. Korea to acquire new missiles for Aegis destroyer

All Headlines 09:25 June 28, 2009

By Lee Joon-seung

SEOUL, June 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to acquire 40 new surface-to-air missiles within the month for its Aegis destroyer, a military source said Sunday.

The government source, who declined to be identified, said all of the U.S.-made Standard Missile-2s (SM-2) will be loaded on to the 7,600-ton King Sejong the Great destroyer.

The 166-meter-long ship, equipped with a phased array SPY-1D radar, can track up to a thousand targets simultaneously at a range of 500km and intercept threats from up to 150 km away. It has been used to detect long-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea that were 1,000 km away.

The destroyer is currently the largest surface combat vessel in the South Korean Navy and can carry up to 80 SM-2s in vertical launch systems. It is also armed with locally made anti-ship missiles, a 127mm cannon, 30mm Goalkeeper close-in-weapons systems and lightweight, rolling airframe missiles.

The 40 SM-2s, which will arrive by the end of June, are extended-range models and can hit targets up to 160km away. They will allow the South Korean ship to fully use its advanced detection, tracking and attack capabilities, the source said.

The missiles are the main anti-aircraft munitions used by the U.S. Navy and have evolved over the years to deal with threats coming from various altitudes and those equipped with advanced electronic counter measures. They may also be used against ballistic missiles.

Related to the missile purchase, the U.S. government in May notified lawmakers that it has authorized the sale of 46 SM-2 Block IIIA and 35 Block IIIB missiles to South Korea under the foreign military sales arrangement.

The military source said that Seoul is looking to acquire next-generation Extended Range Active Missiles, also known as the SM-6 system, from Washington along with Patriot-3 (PAC-3) missiles by 2014. The PAC-3s can be deployed at sea and are designed to intercept ballistic missiles.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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