South Korea has completed the development of new tactical ship-to-ground guided missiles capable of destroying North Korean military equipment, missile bases and other key facilities, military officials said Tuesday.
South Korea has tried to develop ship-to-ground missiles with two types of launch systems, according to the defense ministry's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
Development of the inclined platform for the first batch of Incheon-class frigates, also known as FFX (Future Frigate eXperimental), was completed last year. The vertical launch platform for the second and third batch of next-generation frigates was completed this year, DAPA said, adding mass-production is possible next year.
The warhead has a cluster of shrapnel that can penetrate armored vehicles and destroy an area with the size of two football fields.
The FFX program calls for the construction of six 2,300-ton Incheon-class ships for the first batch, six to nine ships for the second batch and an undisclosed number of ships for the third batch to replace the aging fleet of Pohang-class corvettes and Ulsan-class frigates. The first FFX frigate was launched in 2011.
For decades, the two Koreas have been locked in a race to develop and produce various missiles, with North Korea taking the upper hand in extending the range of ballistic missiles.
South Korea has focused on guided systems with its inventory including the Hyunmoo-2A ballistic missile with a range of more than 300 kilometers, the Hyunmoo-2B capable of flying over 500 kilometers, and the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missile.
In early April, Yonhap news agency carried an unconfirmed report that Seoul had successfully test-launched a new 800-kilometer range ballistic missile.
Lim Chang-won = firstname.lastname@example.org