South Korea Completes Long-Range Air Defense System

South Korea Completes Long-Range Air Defense System

South Korea has completed the development of its indigenous L-SAM long-range air defense missile system, the country’s defense ministry confirmed to Janes. The companies involved Hanwha and LIG Nex1 announced the system has passed all computer and practical testing.

Interceptor Specifications

The initial L-SAM configuration is designed to intercept ballistic and air-breathing missiles at altitudes of 20-100 km and ranges from 150-300 km. It will be integrated with South Korea’s missile defenses alongside early warning radars and the Cheongung II and Patriot PAC-2 systems.

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Russian Technical Collaboration

Development of the L-SAM began in 2019 with cooperation from Russia’s Almaz-Antey, which transferred certain anti air missile technologies to South Korea. After completing modifications, the system is recommended for adoption and entry into production by mid-2025.

Strengthening Naval Air Defenses

In a related program, South Korea also plans to purchase American SM-3 missiles to bolster the air defense capabilities of its KDX-3 Aegis destroyers by 2030, with the fleet planned to grow to six ships.

Enhancing Domestic Defenses

The deployment of the new L-SAM system marks a significant milestone in strengthening South Korea’s domestically developed, layered air and missile defenses as it seeks to counter potential threats from North Korea.

Combined with naval SM-3 interceptors and ground-based THAAD batteries, the L-SAM gives South Korea an indigenous long-range anti-air capability to engage various threats at different altitudes and distances as part of its anti-access/area denial efforts.

After years of development aided by Russian technology transfer, South Korea is positioning the L-SAM as the backbone of its future upper tier air defenses complementing other imported and domestically built systems in countering the advancing missile risks present on the Korean peninsula.

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