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`New Cruise Missile Can Hit All of N. Korea`

Posted July. 19, 2010 11:17,   


South Korea has developed a new cruise missile that can cover all of North Korea, a military source said Sunday.

The South Korean military and the state-run Agency for Defense Development are said to have developed a new cruise missile with a range of up to 1,500 kilometers and will put them on active duty.

The deployment will likely significantly enhance the military’s capability of launching surgical strikes on all of North Korea.

The South is the world’s fourth country to manufacture a cruise missile with a range of 1,500 kilometers or more after the U.S., Russia and Israel.

A Seoul military official said Sunday that the defense agency has mass produced the Hyeonmu-3C ground-to-ground cruise missile after beginning development in 2008.

“The success is a result of our efforts to develop cruise missiles to complement the reality of having a limited range for our ballistic missiles,” the official said.

Saying Seoul will deploy the new missiles to the central region before year’s end, the official said, “We expect the missiles to become an effective war deterrence as they enable our military to launch surgical attacks on the North’s major military installations in the early stages of a war.”

○ Surgical long-distance strikes

“The new cruise missiles are characterized not by increased range but by considerably enhanced capabilities for surgical strikes,” the official said. “A cruise missile is a strategic weapon that can concentrate strikes on the enemy’s key facilities in the early stages of a war.”

With a range of up to 1,000 kilometers, the Hyeonmu-3B cruise missile is known to have been deployed to active duty to cover all of North Korea. The new Hyeonmu-3C, however, is said to be more precise.

The 3C will be deployed to missile bases in the central region and nearby military bases. It will be within range of surgical strikes on the North’s nuclear facilities as well as underground missile bases.

The missile allows the South Korean military to strike the communist country’s strategic facilities without sending fighter jets over the North’s airspace, allowing effective neutralization of Pyongyang’s anti-air defense network.

Because the cruise missile flies in the air at an altitude of 50 to 100 meters, launching multiple missiles makes it difficult for the North to intercept them all even with an tight air-defense network.

○ Exceeding range limits

In the 1970s, Seoul agreed with Washington’s request to limit the range of its ballistic missiles to 180 kilometers and the weight of a warhead to up to 500 kilograms. South Korea has since asked for renegotiation of the limits.

In 2001, the Kim Dae-jung administration increased the range limit to 300 kilometers after joining the Missile Technology Control Regime. Seoul, however, remained incapable of directly striking the North’s major long-range missile bases located beyond the 300-kilometer range.

The South Korean military then began to develop cruise missiles whose ranges are not limited by missile guidelines as long as the warheads weigh under 500 kilograms.

As the result, Seoul is said to have developed and deployed the Hyeonmu-3A cruise missile with a range of up to 500 kilometers and the Hyeonmu-3B missile with up to 1,000 kilometers of range.

With its increased range and accuracy, the Hyeonmu-3C can hit targets with a tolerance of one to two meters compared with the North’s less accurate Scud missiles.