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South Korea approves missile programme funding, launches space rocket

18th April 2022 - 04:24 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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South Korea successfully tested the L-SAM long-range missile in late February. (Gordon Arthur)

South Korea's missile and space sectors are going great guns, with the country's first solid-fuelled space vehicle launch occurring at the end of March.

The Defense Project Promotion Committee of South Korea convened on 25 March, the day after North Korea lobbed an intercontinental ballistic missile into space, and approved ongoing spending on three surface-to-air missile (SAM) development programmes.

The first is the medium-range KM-SAM Block II (or Cheolmae II) interceptor, with KRW720 billion ($576 million) set aside for this programme lasting from 2023-29.

The KM-SAM Block II, first deployed in 2020, adds an anti-ballistic missile capability to its existing antiaircraft function. It can target incoming aircraft and missiles at altitudes beneath 20km. This funding will pay for the ongoing deployment of additional missiles.

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