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(LEAD) S. Korea buys more Taurus missiles amid N.K. nuke threats

2016/10/04 18:13

(ATTN: ADDS Taurus missile's specifications in paras 5-8)

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to buy more Taurus air-to-surface missiles that can strike North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities, military officials said Tuesday.

"The military has recently decided to acquire 90 more Taurus missiles to further beef up its anti-nuclear and anti-missile capabilities. The process to purchase the additional missiles is underway," a defense ministry official told Yonhap News Agency.

Some 170 Taurus missiles are already scheduled to be deployed with the Air Force. The North's fifth nuclear test last month and continued ballistic missile launches resulted in the additional purchase.

When the deployment is complete, the Air Force will be the first Asian country to operate fighter jets armed with the advanced German missile system with a 500-kilometer range, the official said.

Taurus missiles combined with GPS receivers and a flight termination system, or FTS, can automatically detect, trace and hit targets, even those that are behind concrete walls as thick as six meters.

A military GPS receiver is a radio processor capable of handling navigation equations in order to determine the user position, velocity and precise time by processing the signal broadcast by U.S. military GPS satellites. U.S. military GPS are not affected by North Korean jamming making them effective if employed against the reclusive country.

The Taurus is 5.1 meters long and weighs 1,400 kilograms. The system has a 480 kg warhead and can fly as low as 40 ms off the ground at a speed of Mach 0.95 that can allow it to evade enemy radar to deal with North Korean threats.

The missile will form a core weapon system for the Seoul's "kill chain" defense system. The kill chain aims to enhance the country's capability to detect and destroy North Korea's weapons of mass destruction.

This photo, taken on Aug. 9, 2016, shows a Taurus missile (the center missile among the three under the right wing) attached to the Boeing F15E-1 test aircraft at Boeing's Saint Louis facilities. (Yonhap) This photo, taken on Aug. 9, 2016, shows a Taurus missile (the center missile among the three under the right wing) attached to the Boeing F15E-1 test aircraft at Boeing's Saint Louis facilities. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, the military is also considering adopting the small diameter bomb II, or SDB II, which can destroy moving targets more than 60 kilometers away in all kinds of weather, the official said.

SDB II can be fired from an F-15K fighter and can strike North Korea's moving missile launchers.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr

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