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S. Korea set to mass-produce new missile interceptor

2017/06/17 09:44

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SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will soon begin the mass-production of its new mid-range hit-to-kill missile interceptor, code-named M-SAM, as it has passed an operational capability test, a defense official said Saturday.

The M-SAM surface-to-air missile will serve as a core element of the country's Korea Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD), currently in the making, against North Korea's threats.

"The prototype of the M-SAM (missile) to intercept an enemy's ballistic missile was rated fit for combat operation by meeting all the requirements at a test early this month," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

It marks the completion of the development of the M-SAM system led by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a state agency for research and development of defense technology, and manufactured by LIG Nex1, a local defense firm.

A file photo of a test of the Cheongung anti-aircraft missile in 2015. (Yonhap) A file photo of a test of the Cheongung anti-aircraft missile in 2015. (Yonhap)

The development of the M-SAM, a variant of the Cheongung anti-aircraft guided missile was originally scheduled to finish in August but finished two months earlier.

It is designed to intercept incoming missiles at an altitude of 20-40 kilometers.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration plans to mass-produce M-SAM missiles starting later this year with the aim of deploying them in 2019.

South Korean is pushing for the establishment of the KAMD missile shield by the early 2020s.