SEOUL -- LIG Nex1, a defense contractor involved in the development of radar and missile guidance systems, has opened a dedicated assembly and inspection center for an upper-tier missile defense system which is slated to be ready in 2024. South Korea has strived to develop an independent aerial and missile defense system, based mainly on Russian technology.
The opening ceremony took place on June 23 in Gimcheon, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) southeast of Seoul. "We will do our best to ensure that the L-SAM system assembly and inspection center successfully plays the role of the cradle for the development of state-of-the-art domestic weapons," LIG Nex1 CEO Kim Ji-chan said.
The L-SAM system, based on the Russian S-400 technology, is an upper-tier interceptor to offer capabilities similar to that of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, an advanced missile shield deployed by American troops in South Korea. The L-SAM system consists of a ballistic missile interceptor and an aircraft interceptor, along with control stations, radars and launchers.
The total development cost of L-SAM is estimated at 1.1 trillion won ($974 million). Hanwha is responsible for a missile interceptor and LIG Nex1 develops an aircraft interceptor.
A low-tier missile defense system has been almost completed. The Cheolmae-2 (Cheongung) middle-tier missile defense system, which can intercept targets at an altitude of up to 40 km, has been compared to American Patriot systems. A complete battery consists of up to six transporter erector launchers, an X-band 3D radar, and a fire command vehicle. Cheongung is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed with technical support from Russia's Almaz-Antey and Fakel.
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