South Korea has completed the development of new tactical ship-to-ground guided missiles which would enhance its ability to strike North Korea's key military equipment and facilities, the country's arms procurement agency said Tuesday.
South Korea will start mass-producing the missiles with two types of launch systems -- inclined and vertical -- next year after a seven-year project led by the Agency for Defense Development, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
A ship-to-ground guided missile streaks into the sky during a test launch. (Defense Acquisition Program Administration)
The missiles have met all the required operational capabilities in a recent test for use by next-generation frigates, it added.
The shrapnel of the missiles' warhead can penetrate armored vehicles and destroy an area with the size of two football fields at a shot, the agency said.
The nation's warships have largely depended on anti-ship or anti-aircraft guided missiles. But the successful development of the new missile will upgrade its capability to attack ground targets.
Especially, ship-to-ground missiles with a vertical launch platform that can be used by various naval ships will be operational beginning in 2019.
They are based on a technology to evade obstacles swiftly and effectively and shorten the time needed to create a trajectory, the DAPA stressed.
The technology can be applied to the flight route program of drones or robots to be developed by the military and the civilian sector, it added.
"(South Korea) has become able to strike from the sea not only the enemy's major bases on the ground but also core facilities, including those related to ballistic missile launches," said Lee Sang-moon, head of the DAPA's guided weapon development team.
The new missile will be key maritime equipment for the military's Kill Chain pre-emptive strike system against North Korea's provocations, he added.
It will be installed onto frigates, with the Navy's main destroyers already equipped with land attack cruise missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers. (Yonhap)