South Korea’s state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) is developing a “hit to kill” defence system to counter enemy’s rocket attacks, amid growing concerns on North Korea’s imminent nuke tests.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday in its report to the parliamentary audit that ADD has been working to develop core technologies for a rocket interception system that employs a "hit-to-kill" platform.
The project comes amid concerns that the South is not sufficiently ready to handle threats from the North's border artillery targeting Seoul and its surrounding areas, Yonhap reports.
According to the South's 2016 defense white paper, the North has a total of 14,100 artillery pieces including 5,500 multiple rocket launchers, a majority of which have been deployed near the military demarcation line. The South, however, has only 5,900 artillery pieces including just 200 multiple rocket launchers.
"We are considering deploying the interceptor system to counter the enemy's volley of rocket attacks targeting our key military installations such as the wartime command headquarters and facilities for the Korea Air and Missile Defense system," the JCS said in the report.
South Korea had previously considered snapping up a foreign “counter-rocket artillery mortar” system such as Israel’s Iron Dome, but Korean Peninsula's mountainous terrain were considered a hurdle.
"The Iron Dome is a system suitable for defending against sporadic strikes from the irregular warfare forces such as the Hamas group," the JCS explained. "But it is not suited to handling attacks using long-range artillery pieces, which come all at once".
Last week, South Korean and American intelligence agencies reported another provocation by the rogue state as the transport and deployment of transporter-erecter-launcher (TEL) were spotted in three to four regions in North Korea.
During the session, JCS Chairman Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo vowed to carry out a far-reaching reform to transform the military into a reliable fighting force and better handle the security threats from the North.
"We are making all-out efforts to transform our military into a high-morale force that outfights (its adversaries) and is trusted by citizens through sweeping defense reforms," Jeong said.