South Korea Announces Development of Shipborne Missile Interceptor Amid Rising Threats

SEOUL — South Korea is set to initiate the development of a sophisticated shipborne missile interceptor within the year, as announced by the country's state arms procurement agency. This move is part of a broader strategy to bolster defenses against the advancing military capabilities of North Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the decision follows the defense authorities' approval last year of a 690 billion-won (approximately US$520 million) project, which is expected to continue through 2030. The initiative aims to create the "Ship-to-Air Missile-II," a system intended to neutralize incoming aircraft and cruise missiles. DAPA plans to commence research and development efforts this year, with the goal of deploying the missile on the Navy's forthcoming next-generation destroyers.

The agency outlined that the new missile would offer superior performance to the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) that the Navy currently employs, though specific enhancements were not disclosed. The SM-2, developed by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, boasts a range of 90 nautical miles, equivalent to 166.7 kilometers.

This development project is a response to North Korea's continued advancements in weaponry, including the recent tests of what it claims to be "strategic" cruise missiles. South Korea's commitment to upgrading its naval defense capabilities reflects the escalating security challenges in the region.

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