S. Korea approves project to upgrade Patriot missile defense system
By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea approved a 750 billion won (US$605 million) project Monday to upgrade its Patriot missile defense system by 2027, the state arms procurement agency said, in the wake of North Korea's recent missile provocations.
The Defense Project Promotion Committee endorsed the project to procure an unspecified number of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors and upgrade the PAC-2 launchers into more advanced PAC-3 launchers, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The move came after the North fired three ballistic missiles, including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), last week in a move seen as part of efforts to diversify its nuclear delivery capabilities.
"This project is expected to ensure the Patriot system's effective air defense with regard to the Seoul metropolitan area and key national facilities, and enhance its ballistic missile interception capabilities," DAPA said in a press release.
The PAC-2 system uses a blast-fragmentation warhead to intercept hostile targets at an altitude of around 20 kilometers. The PAC-3 employs the so-called "hit-to-kill" technology to directly strike incoming missiles at an altitude of 40 km.
The committee also approved a project to develop a mine-sweeping helicopter capable of detecting sea mines and clearing them. For this project, the government plans to spend 970 billion won by 2030.
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