S. Korea approves upgrade of missile defense following N. Korea’s ICBM launch

SEOUL-- South Korea on Friday approved a project to upgrade its key surface-to-air missile interceptors, the state arms procurement agency said, a day after North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The Defense Project Promotion Committee endorsed the project worth 720 billion won (US$591 million) to upgrade the Cheolmae II interceptors from next year through 2029, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

The project seeks to upgrade the missiles to enable them to intercept both aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes below 20 kilometers. The existing interceptors to be upgraded can only shoot down aircraft.

The committee also approved a 690 billion won project to develop and manufacture ship-to-air guided missiles from next year through 2036 and a 230 billion scheme to develop long-range air-to-ground weapons for precision strikes by 2028.

In addition, the committee endorsed a 710 billion won project to purchase foreign-made transport planes by 2026. For this project, the European aircraft maker Airbus' A400M, the Brazilian company Embraer's C390 and the U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin's C130J are expected to compete.

Source: Yonhap News Agency