Military to build Taurus missiles

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Military to build Taurus missiles

Korea will deploy additional Taurus cruise missiles and develop its own long-range air-to-surface missiles with similar capabilities, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said Wednesday as he presided over a defense acquisition meeting at the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan District, central Seoul.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it intends to produce some 200 air-to-surface Taurus-class missiles, which have a 500-kilometer (311-mile) range, from 2018 to 2031, investing about 810 billion won ($693 million) in the process.

“Initially, the plan was to develop the second batch indigenously,” said a DAPA official, “but in face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat, and with the increase of potential targets in case of an emergency, we are first bringing in additional missiles developed overseas.”

The Taurus missile can be carried on the Korean Air Force’s F-15K fighter jets and is capable of striking Pyongyang while flying over Daejeon. The missile has an independent guidance system and can strike a target as narrow as a window.

It is also capable of penetrating up to six meters of reinforced concrete using its multiple warhead system.

The missile is 5.1 meters (16.7 feet) long and weighs 1,400 tons, with a 480-kilogram (1,058-pound) warhead.

It has stealth capabilities to evade enemy radar and can fly as low as 50 meters at a speed of Mach 0.95 (729 miles per hour).

The South Korean government first confirmed the acquisition of the Taurus missiles in 2013. Seoul received its first batch of Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles from Germany in October.

The Korean government will order 90 additional Taurus missiles, atop the 170 missiles it has already ordered, to be deployed to its Air Force.

DAPA is expected to spend a total of some 740 billion won on the Taurus missiles, including the second batch.

BY JEONG YONG-SOO, SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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