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S. Korea to buy European bunker busters for fighter jets

All Headlines 13:00 June 19, 2013

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will buy Taurus bunker-busting long-range missiles for its F-15K strike fighters in a move to boost its attacking power against North Korea, the state procurement agency said Wednesday.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) approved the acquisition plan to purchase air-to-ground missiles with a 500-kilometer range by the German-Swedish joint venture Taurus System in a meeting presided by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.

The number of missiles and proposed budget have not been confirmed yet, officials said.

Launched from South Korean airspace that is not under threat from North Korean surface-to-air missiles, the GPS-guided cruise missiles can hit strategic targets such as nuclear and missile bases with precision.

For example, launched from air above the central city of Daejeon, where the headquarters of three military branches are located, they can hit an underground bunker in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

The Taurus has a 480-kg warhead capable of penetrating up to 6 meters of reinforced concrete with an error rate of a mere 2 to 3 meters.

The Taurus would be the first strategic weapon Seoul has imported from Europe rather than the U.S. The only long-range missiles in the Air Force's inventory are 40-odd SLAM-ER missiles with a range of 278 km.

Seoul had expressed interest in Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) by U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, but the Pentagon has not approved sales of the 370-km range missile, which is classified as a strategic weapon, to South Korea.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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