In a regulatory filing on November 15, Hanwha Systems said it has signed a contract worth 51.2 billion won ($38.8 million) with the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) to deliver a radar prototype by the end of July in 2024. The deal came after the defense ministry proposed the early deployment of a low-altitude missile defense (LAMD) system aimed at installing guided missile launchers at various locations to defend against North Korea's long-range artillery and cruise missiles.
Detailed information was not disclosed, but South Korea would use much better radars and equipment than Israel's Iron Dome which has three central components: a radar system, a control center and interceptor missile launchers deployed in a scattered pattern. Each launcher, containing 20 interceptors, is independently deployed and operated remotely via a secure wireless connection.
An initial military roadmap presented by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), an arms procurement agency, called for the development of a LAMD system by 2029. In a report to President Yoon Suk-yeol in July, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup came up with a renewed timetable to complete the operational deployment of a LAMD system earlier than scheduled. Yoon has made an election pledge to put LAMD into field operation in 2026.
South Korea regards the North's long-range artillery and large-caliber multiple rocket launchers as a grave security threat due to the geological vulnerability of Seoul, the densely populated capital which is not far away from the border and lies within a range of North Korea's artillery. Most of the North's artillery equipment is positioned in concrete bunkers and tunnels.
Hanwha Systems manufactures tactical communication systems, radar systems, naval combat systems, electro-optics, and fire control systems. The company has polished its skill and know-how through the localization of an advanced and sophisticated radar system for South Korea's homemade KF-21 fighter jet that made its maiden flight in July 2022.
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