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JH Ahn was an NK News contributor based in Seoul. He previously worked as an interpreter for United States Forces Korea.
Seoul plans to invest $28 billion in increasing the nation’s ability to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear missiles and its other provocations, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Wednesday.
The five-year plan, covering the 2017 to 2021 period, includes the introduction of new weapons systems to South Korea such as European-made bunker busters, high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (HUAV) and non-lethal weapons for nullifying North Korea’s power grids.
“We will prioritize focusing all of our resources on countering North Korea’s threats (against South Korea) by deploying the Kill Chain and Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD),” read the MND report.
As the part of the Kill Chain, South Korea said it will develop HUAV and strategic missiles, while also purchasing the bunker busting Taurus KEPD 350 missile.
A military expert said South Korea’s decision to deploy the Taurus missile will greatly improve Seoul’s ability to counter Pyongyang’s underground nuclear facilities.
“South Korea’s current Hyeonmu-3 cruise missiles are ineffective against North Korea’s underground facilities,” Choi Hyun-ho, director of Milidom.net told NK News.
“Most of the North Korean nuclear facilities are hidden underground, and the Taurus missile’s unitary warhead enables it to penetrate North Korean underground facilities and destroy them.”
Pyongyang has recently introduced and used its new 300mm MRL several times since the beginning of March, threatening to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.” To counter this new weapon, the five-year plan also included the deployment of ground-to-ground guided munitions and 230mm MRLs.
However, Choi said that such systems will not be as effective as the MND claims.
“The announced South Korean ground-to-ground guided munition’s range is slightly greater than 100 kilometers, while the 230mm MRL’s maximum range is only up to 80 kilometers,” Choi said.
“North Korean 300mm MRLs have a range of up to 200 kilometers, so I do not think these South Korean weapons can possibly reach new North Korean MRLs’ range and destroy them.”
North Korea’s provocations against South Korea have not been limited to large-scale provocations such as those involving nuclear weapons, missiles and long-range weapons.
The North has repeatedly carried out its relatively small-scale provocations such as last August’s landmine attack, and several infiltrations with its UAV in January. Seoul said the plan also counters North Korean provocations of this scale.
“We will deploy local air defense radars which can detect small UAVs and advanced mine detectors to detect wooden box mines,” read the MND statement.
In addition, South Korea’s plan also focused on destroying North Korea’s industrial assets. The non-lethal weapons system, introduced as a “carbon fiber bomb” that is designed to emit electro-conductive fibers to destroy the enemy’s electric power plants and grids, is also part of the five-year plan.
Featured image: Taurus KEPD 350, official website
Seoul plans to invest $28 billion in increasing the nation's ability to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear missiles and its other provocations, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Wednesday.
The five-year plan, covering the 2017 to 2021 period, includes the introduction of new weapons systems to South Korea such as European-made bunker busters, high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (HUAV) and non-lethal weapons for nullifying North Korea's power grids.