SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) — South Korea will soon begin the mass-production of its new mid-range hit-to-kill missile interceptor, code-named M-SAM, as it has passed an operational capability test, a defense official said Saturday.
The M-SAM surface-to-air missile will serve as a core element of the country’s Korea Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD), currently in the making, against North Korea’s threats.
“The prototype of the M-SAM (missile) to intercept an enemy’s ballistic missile was rated fit for combat operation by meeting all the requirements at a test early this month,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
It marks the completion of the development of the M-SAM system led by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a state agency for research and development of defense technology, and manufactured by LIG Nex1, a local defense firm.
A file photo of a test of the Cheongung anti-aircraft missile in 2015. (Yonhap)
The development of the M-SAM, a variant of the Cheongung anti-aircraft guided missile was originally scheduled to finish in August but finished two months earlier.
It is designed to intercept incoming missiles at an altitude of 20-40 kilometers.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration plans to mass-produce M-SAM missiles starting later this year with the aim of deploying them in 2019.
South Korean is pushing for the establishment of the KAMD missile shield by the early 2020s.
Source : Yonhap News Agency