SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to deploy a new guided missile next year to counter North Korean hovercraft that have been stationed near the tense western sea border, the defense ministry said Thursday.
The 70-millimeter guided missile Bigung, which weighs 15 kilograms and is 1.9 meters long, will be deployed among Marine Corps forces by the end of 2017. The system will be able to better combat possible attacks by the North's Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the West Sea, a ministry official said.
Bigung, which means flying arrow, can be mounted on a truck, it is very mobile and much more versatile and potent compared to coastal artillery used by troops at present. If fully loaded, a truck-mounted launcher can fire up to 40 missiles at once, the official explained.
Each Bigung system is capable of engaging multiple LCACs, with the missiles able to independently track and strike different targets, he said.
The military began the Bigung development project in 2010 when tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated following the North's deadly shelling of Yeongpyeong Island and torpedo attack on the South's Cheonan corvette, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors on board.
LIG Nex1 has partnered with the Agency for Defense Development to develop and produce the guided missiles over the past three years. It has conducted 20 successful tests on the missiles in the past year, the ministry said.
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