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Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD)

The ROK military develops the KAMD to intercept missiles heading towards the ROK territory. The KAMD system establishes a terminal-phase, lower tier overlapped missile defense system in consideration of the battlefield environment of the Korean Peninsula. The KAMD consists of an early warning system, command and control system and intercept system. The early warning system detects the enemy’s launched missiles with ballistic missile early warning radar or Aegis radar, analyzes the detected information at the Korea Theater Missile Operations, and then delivers it to the optimal interceptor artillery battery. The battery that receives an order to intercept will track the missile with its own radar to execute the interception.

The ROK military plans to continuously acquire improved Patriot missiles and medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM). Also, in order to expand the defense area against ballistic missiles, it will develop long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM) with an extended intercept range using domestic technology and deploy them by the mid-2020s.

The ROK military will continuously enhance the effectiveness and credibility of its missile response capabilities by identifying the development requirements of the Kill Chain and KAMD system, and by discussing options to reinforce interoperability with the U.S. missile defense system.

South Korea has pushed for the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), or a South Korea-type MD system, which focuses on a terminal-phase, low-altitude missile defense. KAMDS will be comprised of PAC-2 and PAC-3 Patriots as well as L-SAM and M-SAM ground-to-air missiles that are under development. KAMDS involves the help of US early warning satellites, but does not translate into Korea's participation in the US missile system.

The country has aimed to build up a multi- layered MD system, which means the failure of the first-stage interceptors leads to the second-stage interception in different altitudes. Seoul has been gradually building the KAMD since 2006 by acquiring Patriot missiles and long-range early warning radars. The KAMD involves an early warning radar as well as land-based missile defense systems.

Seoul's Defense Ministry has said that the low-tier MD refers to intercepting missiles at an altitude of less than 100km. Seoul will upgrade its PAC-2 missiles to Lockheed Martin's PAC- 3 to shoot down missiles, possibly launched from the DPRK, at an altitude of less than 40km. South Korea planned to purchase the "hit-to-kill" type PAC-3 missiles, developed by US-based Lockheed Martin, between 2016 and 2020 to improve its anti-ballistic missile capabilities. The L-SAM system will intercept missiles at an altitude of 40km or above [or an altitude of 50-60 km], moderating worries that the PAC-2 and PAC-3 are not enough to shoot down DPRK missiles, possibly tipped with nuclear warheads.

The DPRK continued to enhance its large-caliber multiple-rocket launchers to follow the global trend, noting that its weapons got to have a longer range and added functions such as the guided system. These projectiles can directly strike the headquarters of South Korea's Army, Navy and Air Forces located some 130 km south of Seoul. The Korea Air and Missile Defense, which Seoul has sought to build up to intercept ballistic missiles from the DPRK, could not shoot down those short-range projectiles as the KAMD is a defense system for longer range missiles.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 14:44:24 ZULU