South Korea test-fired four types of ballistic and cruise missiles from the ground, submarines and aircraft to increase deterrence against North Korea.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry on September 15 released four videos of ballistic missile and cruise missile tests launched from land, submarines and aircraft. The launches coincided with North Korea testing long-range cruise missiles and train-launched ballistic missiles.
One video shows a mobile ground-based launcher launching a “high-yield ballistic missile”, described by local media as “as powerful as a tactical nuclear weapon”. After leaving the launch pad, the fire penetrates the target located on the target that can simulate an underground bunker.
South Korea has not announced the name or tactical features of the new ballistic missile model. Experts say this could be the Hyunmoo 4 short-range ballistic missile with a range of 350-400 km, designed to destroy North Korea’s underground bunkers, including nuclear weapons storage.
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense also released a video of a test of a supersonic cruise missile, which was completed by the Korea Defense Development Agency by the end of 2020. The video shows the missile leaving the launch pad on the ground, then penetrating it. The target net is strung on a barge or ship at sea.
“The new missile with improved speed will make it difficult for enemy ships to respond, improving survivability and destructive power,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement. “This weapon is expected to be the core weapon to deal with the naval force approaching our territorial waters.”
South Korea has not announced the name and details of the new anti-ship cruise missile model. Military experts believe that this missile has a similar configuration to the Russian P-800 Oniks and BrahMos models developed by Russia in cooperation with India. Russia’s P-800 missile has a range of 120-800 km depending on the variant, can reach a speed of 2.8 times the speed of sound.
The South Korean military also test-fired a ballistic missile from the Dosan Ahn Changho submarine on September 15. The missile was launched while the submarine was underwater, “flying along a predetermined route and hitting the exact target”, the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement, but did not announce the new missile’s range.
The test-fire made South Korea the eighth country in the world to develop a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and the first non-nuclear weapons country to do so. South Korean media reported that the country’s SLBM model, named Hyunmoo 4-4, was developed from the Hyunmoo-2B tactical ballistic missile family and has a range of about 500 km.
SLBM is one of the three pillars of nuclear deterrence of great powers, next to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers carrying nuclear weapons. SLBMs have less accuracy and power than ICBMs, but ballistic missile submarines can hide under the sea for a long time to launch a pre-emptive attack on the enemy or retaliate in case the country owns it. being attacked.
Meanwhile, the Korean Air Force also test-fired a new long-range air-to-surface missile from an F-4E fighter and sent an F-15K fighter to monitor the test. The video shows that the new missile has an angular body, which is said to have stealth capabilities. The missile left the F-4E, then opened its wings and rushed to the mock target. South Korea can develop this missile model to equip the new generation fighter KF-21.
South Korea stepped up its ballistic missile development programs after the United States lifted range restrictions, allowing Seoul to develop ballistic missiles that can hit targets more than 800 kilometers away. The new types of ballistic and cruise missiles are assessed as part of South Korea’s ambition to develop a more capable naval force.
The missile development programs are also aimed at increasing the independence of the South Korean military, instead of having to depend on the US in the event of a conflict with North Korea. “Increasing the missile combat capability can become a powerful deterrent against North Korea’s provocations,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
The joint launch of ballistic and cruise missile tests by South Korea and North Korea could be related to talks between officials in the region regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.
Sung Kim, the US special envoy for North Korea policy, recently traveled to Japan for talks with officials from that country and South Korea. During his upcoming visit to South Korea, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is also likely to discuss the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.
Nguyen Tien (Follow Drive)