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SKorea develops military communication system: officials

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Dec 4, 2007
South Korea has developed its first military satellite communications system to help troops reduce reliance on US intelligence and equipment, officials said Tuesday.

The system covering an area with a diameter of 12,000 kilometres (7,200 miles) was developed over 11 years. It will go into service next year for the army, navy and air force, the defence ministry said.

"We have developed the country's first military satellite communications system," the ministry's Agency for Defence Development said in a statement.

"This system will help our military share real-time combat intelligence and conduct more efficient operations."

The current wireless military communications network only covers a diameter of 100 kilometres.

A ministry official told AFP the system was aimed at reducing dependence on its US ally as Seoul assumes a bigger role in its own defence.

The system cost 264 billion won (285 million dollars) to develop. It uses the Mugunghwa-5, a military communications satellite launched in August last year which North Korea at the time alleged was to be used for spying.

South Korea, which is still technically at war with the North, relies on the US in some key areas. It has no air surveillance system of its own and depends on US reconnaissance aircraft based at Okinawa in Japan.

Along with the introduction of anti-missile equipment, South Korea has sought to buy advanced surveillance planes from the US.

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