SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will begin a 110 billion won (US$89.8 million) project next year to develop a laser device to safely remove unexploded ordnance by 2027, the state arms procurement agency said Thursday.
The policy and planning subcommittee of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) approved the project and plans to conduct a feasibility study and coordinate budgetary issues with related agencies, its officials said.
The project aims to develop a mobile laser device to safely detonate and remove unexploded ordnance from a distance -- in a departure from the time-consuming and more dangerous practice of clearing them.
The envisioned device will use lasers to penetrate the surface of explosives to burn out their gunpowder or create a low-level detonation to safely clear them, the officials said.
When its development is completed, the military plans to deploy it to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) units of all service branches.
"When its deployment is completed, it is expected to contribute to improving the survivability of EOD units," Brig. Gen. Cho Hyun-ki said. "It will enable the efficient disposal of explosives during both wartime and peacetime."
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