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1,000 Guided Missiles to Be Introduced to Counter North Korean Artillery

1,000 Guided Missiles to Be Introduced to Counter North Korean Artillery

Posted April. 10, 2005 23:02,   


The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has decided to introduce 1,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, a cutting-edge guided missile, in an effort to guarantee South Korea’s independent deterrence against the North.

A MND official said on April 10, “The ministry recently reported the option of introducing 1,000 JDAM kits as part of its 2006-2010 Mid-Term National Defense Plan, and the National Security Council (NSC) is currently reviewing the details of the plan.”

The need for adoption of JDAM has long been discussed within the military, but this is the first time that the exact scale of introduction has been clarified. By introducing a huge number of JDAM units, the Defense Ministry aims at carrying out a surgical strike against, and eventually destroying, numerous field artillery pieces deployed by the North Korean armed forces near the Demilitarized Zone in case of an emergency.

According to the Defense White Paper released in early February, the number of field artillery units deployed by the North Korean armed forces reaches as many as 13,500, up by 1,000 compared to five years ago. Among them, approximately 3,000 units, including 170mm self-propelled guns and 240mm rocket launchers near the demilitarized zone. Military experts are worried that these field artillery pieces, ranging 50 to 60 kilometers, could serve as a serious threat to Korea-US core military facilities and the metropolitan area in the early stage of a possible war.

In response, Korea-US military authorities have come up with strong anti-firepower posture, aiming at grasping the location of North Korean artillery units with radar and immediately destroying them in case the North’s field artillery pieces are about to be fired or have already done so.

Anti-firepower operations have been the core of 10 major USFK services that have been carried out by the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division artillery component, equipped with approximately 30 units of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) units and Paladin self-propelled howitzers respectively, and will be transferred to the Korean forces.

The Korean armed forces also possess dozens of MLRS units, but Korea’s Command & Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) system—designed for seizing signs of and striking the North’s long-range artillery being fired—as well as its operational ability within the system has been assessed to be somewhat weak. However, as the Korean armed forces’ anti-firepower capability has recently been greatly improved, it is highly likely that Korea will take over the responsibility for those operations within this year.

Korea-US military authorities formed a joint review team last October and agreed to decide the final transfer date by assessing Korean forces’ anti-firepower capability on a six-month basis starting from this August.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com