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South Korea Showcases New Missiles

South Korean military officials inspect the ship-to-ship cruise missile Haeseong (sea star) on display at the factory of defense firm Nex1future in Gumi, 24 March 2006. Photo credit: Kim Jae-Hwan. Courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Gumi, South Korea (AFP) Mar 27, 2006
South Korea on Friday showcased a locally-developed ship-to-ship cruise missile and a shoulder-launched missile to counter North Korea's missile threat. The new weapons went on display at a defense plant here south of Seoul at a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-Ung.

"We have completed the development of the two indigenous missiles," said a spokesman for the government's defense acqusition program administration.

The portable Singung missile automatically explodes against a target flying within a radius of 1.5 kilometers, sending out 720 fragments.

This is the first portable anti-aircraft missile developed by South Korea, which has imported hundreds of US and French shoulder-launched missiles for low-altitude targets.

Military officials said the new cruise missile, Haeseong, with a range of up to 150 kilometers, would replace its US-made Harpoon missiles.

The new 2.7-meter-long missile can be launched from both ships and helicopters, and travels at a speed of 45 knots (83 kilometers per hour).

South Korea last year deployed new medium-range missiles capable of hitting most strategic targets in North Korea.

It is also developing a new surface-to-air missile with a 50-kilometer range to replace its outdated US-made Hawk missiles.

Military experts say North Korea's missile development poses a major threat to regional security on top of its nuclear ambitions.

North Korea has already deployed short range Scuds and Rodongs with a range of 1,300 kilometres, while actively developing Taepodong missiles with a range of up to 6,000 kilometres.

Pyongyang stunned the world in 1998 by test-launching over Japan a Taepodong-1 missile with a range of up to 2,000 kilometres.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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