The Army on Tuesday began deploying next-generation multiple launch rocket systems as part of Seoul’s efforts to better counter growing North Korean artillery threats and boost home production of tactical weapons.
The domestically built MLRS, named “Chunmoo,” is poised to beef up South Korea’s artillery counterstrike capabilities with a range of up to 80 kilometers, more than twice that of the existing “Guryong.”
The Defense Agency for Technology and Quality has injected some 131.4 billion won ($112.4 million) into the project since 2009. It completed research and development in late 2013 and carried out initial production in August 2014.
“The advanced MLRS has precision strike firepower that can burn to the ground an area as large as three football fields combined all at once, out of the range of North Korean long-range artillery weapons,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said at a news briefing.
“When deployed in earnest, it will likely be operating as a key asset in counterfire warfare, while contributing to future defense exports.”
The Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province-based DATQ held a launching ceremony in Changwon. About 100 officials participated from the military, Defense Acquisition Program Administration, manufacturer Doosan DST and its contractors.
Consisting of a mobile launcher and ammunition carrier vehicle, the Chunmoo is equipped with a firing control system that facilitates real-time precision strikes and is capable of firing 239-milimeter guided missiles and 227 mm and 130 mm unguided missiles.
The Army is expected to gradually expand the stationing of the equipment from frontline artillery units to border islands in the West Sea until next year, officials said.
By Shin Hyon-hee