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Official: Seoul is planning air defense upgrade

Oct 01,2006
Seoul is looking to buy second-hand Patriot missiles from Germany and ground control equipment from the United States in order to strengthen its air defense capability, an official with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said over the weekend.
Pursued for the Air Force, the military intends to buy 48 Patriot-2 missiles by 2008 and spend 1.1 trillion won ($1.16 billion), said the official, who declined to give his name. South Korea hopes to employ a battalion-sized missile unit.
The official said South Korea decided to purchase the used missiles from Germany, rather than buy new ones from the U.S. builder Raytheon, because the price is almost 50 percent cheaper. The ground control unit, however, will be purchased directly from the U.S. builder.
The official said that existing Nike missile systems, which were scrapped in the United States in the 1970s and other European countries such as Greece in the 1980s, would be replaced by Patriot II missiles ― although possibly not the latest model, the Patriot III, which are more accurate in shooting down enemy missiles, experts say.
Even by adding only launch pads and Patriot III missiles, Seoul could upgrade its missile unit to one capable of missile defense.
North Korea fields Scud type missiles that can target all of the South.


by Kim Min-seok


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