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Korea in dilemma over aircraft missile purchase

The Air Force’s plan to purchase advanced air-to-surface missiles faces hurdles due to design and price problems, officials said Monday.

The Air Force is trying to decide between Lockheed Martin’s JASSM and TAURUS Systems’ Taurus for the country’s fleet of F-15K strike fighters.

However, defense officials said that JASSM missiles, which have the capability to penetrate North Korea’s underground bunkers, are not compatible with Boeing’s F-15Ks.

On the other hand, the German-Swedish Taurus is highly advanced and more powerful than the JASSM, but beyond South Korea’s budget.

Defense officials said that Korea would decide on the matter after a thorough due diligence, without giving a specific timeline.

South Korea has sought to expand its relatively weak Air Force since 2008 by increasing and replacing its aircraft with the latest models and technology, including long-range air-to-surface missiles.

This is in line with efforts to counter North Korean provocations.

The U.S. government has not yet approved the export of Lockheed Martin’s JASSM to South Korea, according to media reports.


By Park Hyong-ki
(hkp@heraldcorp.com)

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