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Army confident of destroying N. Korea with ballistic missiles at war

2017/10/19 17:45

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SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Army said Thursday it will be quick in totally destroying North Korea's front-line artillery systems in the event of a war on the peninsula.

In a report to the National Assembly, the Army presented a three-tier missile strike concept in the early stage of an armed conflict.

The weapon that will first be mobilized is a tactical surface-to-surface missile, called KTSSM and known as artillery killer.

"KTSSM-I will strike the enemy's tunnels with the 170-mm self-propelled howitzers and 240-mm multiple-rocket launch systems," it said during the regular parliamentary audit of the operation of the 490,000 troops.

Most of the North's artillery equipment, camouflaged and embedded, is deployed along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and the coast of its border islands.

And KTSSM-II will be used to bomb SCUD missile facilities and 300-mm rocket launchers, it added.

South Korea's Hyunmoo-II ballistic missile is fired during a recent training in this file photo (Yonhap) South Korea's Hyunmoo-II ballistic missile is fired during a recent training in this file photo (Yonhap)

The Army also plans to fire Hyunmoo-II ballistic missiles against the North's nuclear and other WMD systems and supporting units.

The South's indigenous Hyunmoo-class missiles have a range of up to 800km, while Hyunmoo-III is a longer-range cruise missile.

In order to take the North's leadership out, the Army is seeking to acquire more powerful ballistic missiles, tentatively named the Hyunmoo-IV.

Seoul has reached a de-facto deal with Washington to revise their missile development guidelines so that it can double the maximum payload of its ballistic missiles. Under a bilateral accord with the U.S. revised in 2012, it can develop ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800km and a payload weight of up to 500kg.

As their presidents -- Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump - agreed in principle on the issue, the allies are in consultations on the details.

South Korea's armed forces are pushing for a broader "three-axis" defense platform against the North's threats and provocations -- the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike system, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) scheme.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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