SEOUL, June 12 (Yonhap) — South Korea will arm its Aegis destroyers with the surface-to-air Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) starting 2016 as part of efforts to bolster its missile defense against North Korean threats, a senior government official said Wednesday.
The SM-6, which is suitable for low-altitude sky defense with a maximum range of 320-400 kilometers, is an upgrade of the SM-2 by U.S. defense firm Raytheon.
The South Korean military has sought to upgrade its SM-2 missiles deployed on one of its three Aegis destroyers as they are considered ineffective in shooting down North Korea’s ballistic missiles due to their short range.
The decision to buy the newest naval missiles is part of Seoul’s plan to develop an independent, low-tier missile shield called the Korea Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD).
“The defense ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will prepare a plan to develop the KAMD system to deter North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons by the end of this year,” the official said, asking for anonymity as he is not allowed to talk to media.
“Our military is currently working to establish a Korean missile defense system focusing on final stage, low-altitude defense that fits the strategic atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula,” the defense ministry said in a release.
For the effective establishment and operation of the Korean system, Seoul is cooperating with Washington in intelligence sharing, and participating in international missile defense trainings as part of that effort, the ministry said.
Full article: S. Korea to deploy new surface-to-air missiles for Aegis destroyers (Yonhap News Agency)