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In early 1994 Korea considered a Patriot acquisition program of five Patriot Fire Units four tactical and one training. U.S. Army analysis presented to the Government of Korea in May 1993 assessed that this minimum program can be deployed as an integrated air defense with existing HAWK and other air defense assets and effectively defend the populated areas of Seoul and Inchon against the full range of North Korean high performance aircraft, cruise missiles and SCUD tactical ballistic missiles," states the Raytheon documentation. At the request of the Ministry of Defense planners, the proposed program includes four tactical Fire Units with six launchers each, a training fire unit with two launchers, and a total of 196 Patriot missiles; intended for the defense of the Seoul/Inchon metropolitan area, In 2000, South Korea announced plans to buy 48 PAC-3 advanced Patriot missiles to boost its ability to shoot down incoming North Korean ballistic missiles and aircraft at a high altitude. The 1.1 trillion won (US$1 billion) SAM-X project, however, was not implemented as questions were raised about its efficiency amid criticism that it was intended as part of the U.S.-led global missile.

South Korea sought to replace the Nike missiles with PAC-3 missiles, the advanced version of the Patriot, under a $1.6 billion procurement project, code-named SAM-X. The Defense Ministry originally planed to award the contract to Raytheon by the end of 2001. But military officials said the decision would be postponed until 2002 after the negotiation broke up mainly over price and the timetable for payments. Raytheon was the sole bidder to provide South Korea with 48 ground-to-air missile systems since Russia's Rosvoorouzhenie dropped out of the race in 2000.

By 2005 South Korea's indecision to introduce U.S.-made Patriot missiles was creating a hole in its air defense system, as South Korea has already begun disbanding its aging U.S.-made high-altitude Nike Hercules missile units without any decision on substitute missiles. But the country seemed unlikely to make a decision on it any time soon and may even kill it.

The ROK requested specs and data from the US on the PAC-3 missiles in January 2006, but did not mean they were going to buy it -- only doing comparisons. The SAM-X program was still in the air as of 2007 over procurement of used PAC-2 missiles from Germany. South Korea planned to purchase Germany's leftover Patriot missile systems and purchase only ground-control equipment from the United States.

On April 21, 2008 Raytheon Company received a $241 million U.S. Foreign Military Sales contract to provide the Republic of Korea with command and control, communications, maintenance support, and training equipment for the Patriot air and missile defense system. This production and support award complements the $28.7 million engineering services contract the company announced March 3. The Patriot system will provide South Korea with the capability to deploy command and control for the Patriot system and defend itself from the full spectrum of air and missile threats.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) is the prime contractor for the Patriot system and the integration of all variants of the system. The capability delivered will provide improved air and missile defense for South Korea. Work will be performed at Raytheon's Integrated Air Defense Center, Andover, Mass.; the Warfighter Protection Center, Huntsville, Ala.; and the Mission Capability and Verification Center, White Sands, NM.

Germany finally sold second-hand Patriot missiles to South Korea, intended to modernize the country's military capacity. The South Korean Air Force received the first shipment of Patriot missiles from Germany on 28 November 2008. The 48 anti-missile and anti-aircraft launch modules, which will replace the country's outdated Nike air defense missiles, were to be deployed by 2012 after two years of trial operation. The air force agreed in September 2007 to buy the Patriot rockets for 1.05 trillion won ($710 million, 551 million euros) second-hand from Germany. The first shipment arrived in August 2008 but had been undergoing a series of performance tests before Seoul officially took delivery. The purchase package will also include launch modules and relevant radar systems from Germany beginning in 2008 to replace South Korea's aging ground-to-air Nike Hercules missiles.

The deployment of upgraded Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) systems is a core part of Seoul's plan to build an independent theater missile defense shield, dubbed the Korean air and missile defense (KAMD) network system. The KAMD, also involving Aegis destroyer ship-to-air missile defense systems, is designed to intercept low-flying, short- and medium-range missiles from North Korea.

On 23 October 2013 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea for Patriot Anti-Tactical Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support. The Republic of Korea (ROK) has requested a possible sale to procure 112 Patriot Anti-Tactical Missiles (ATM, which will be upgraded to the Guided Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T) configuration via a Direct Commercial Sale), test equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $404 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of an ally and partner nation. The ROK continues to be an important force for peace, political stability, and economic progress in North East Asia. These upgraded missiles will provide the ROK with an enhanced capability to defend against ballistic missile, aircraft and cruise missile threats. The proposed sale of ATMs (and subsequent upgrade to GEM-T) contributes to the ROK’s goal to develop a more capable defense force and enhance interoperability with U.S. forces. The ROK will have no difficulty absorbing and maintaining these additional missiles in its inventory.

By early 2014 South Korea wanted to buy PAC-3 missiles, with delivery expected to start in 2016. It currently had PAC-2 missiles and the PAC-3 Configuration 2 launch system. On 28 April 2014 Korea's arms procurement agency approved a US$1.3 billion plan to upgrade its present PAC-2 air defense system and buy PAC-3 missiles by 2020 to improve its anti-ballistic missile capability to counter North Korean threat. DAPA will buy "hit-to-kill" PAC-3 missiles by U.S. aerospace firm Lockheed Martin through the foreign military sales (FMS) program between 2016 and 2020. The Defense Ministry expected the PAC-3 interceptors to boost the Korea Air and Missile Defense System, noting PAC-2 missiles’ low interception rate of 40 percent and inability to destroy biological or nuclear warheads. South Korea introduced PAC-2 missile interceptors in 2008. PAC-3 missiles were said to have a 70 percent interception rate.

The Defense Ministry has dismissed concerns that the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense(THAAD) battery will not cover Seoul and the capital region if it is deployed in the southern county of Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province.

Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Ryu Je-seung said on 13 July 2016 in a press briefing that the best antimissile system to defend the capital area is the Patriot medium-altitude missile interceptors. Yoo said that North Korea’s Scud missiles pose the closest threat to the capital region as they are deployed 100 to 200 kilometers away. He said that the Patriot missiles are more effective than THAAD in countering the Scud missiles, which fly shorter distances at a lower altitude.

The deputy minister explained that the ministry is replacing Patriot Advanced Capability-2 or PAC-2 missile interceptors with more advanced PAC-3 missiles, which can intercept approaching projectiles at a higher altitude between 30 and 40 kilometers. He said the government is planning to deploy PAC-3 in the capital area first.

If North Korea's threats are focused on the capital region, Ryu said the government could relocate Patriot units from the south of the country closer to the Seoul area. In addition, he said the THAAD system would cover between one-half and two-thirds of South Korea or around 20 million people.

South Korea deployed a Patriot missile unit to central Seoul, state media reported 07 January 2020, as part of an effort to safeguard the country from its nuclear-armed northern neighbor. The unit, previously stationed in the southeastern region of North Gyeongsang Province, was moved to a former military installation located behind the presidential office compound, Yonhap news agency reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The redeployment was reportedly carried out earlier in the month. It is also mentioned in the report that the unit is believed to be equipped with missiles capable of intercepting an aircraft or missiles at altitudes of around 20-40km (12.5-25 miles). The decision to relocate the system follows a series of warnings issued by Pyongyang, including a threat alluding to the unveiling of a new strategic weapon “in the near future.”

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Page last modified: 13-01-2020 18:55:46 ZULU