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People's Daily Online

S.Korea to deploy 5 reconnaissance satellites by 2022 for DPRK missiles

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 14:43, August 08, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 8 -- South Korea's military plans to deploy five reconnaissance satellites, developed on its indigenous technology, by 2022 as part of its "Kill Chain" strategy to preemptively detect and destroy nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) was quoted as saying that the arms procurement agency will hold an explanation session on Wednesday for the project to develop its homegrown reconnaissance satellite.

During the session, the agency plans to explain how to proceed on the project, while listening to potential developer companies. It reportedly has a plan to give the public notice of a bid next month and sign a deal with bidders by the end of this year.

The military will spend about 1 trillion won (900 million U.S. dollars) on the project. The Agency for Defense Development under Seoul's defense ministry will develop synthetic aperture radar (SAR), while the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) will be responsible for development of electro-optica and infrared ray instruments.

One homegrown satellite will be deployed first in 2020, with two set to be installed in 2021. The remaining two will be put into orbit in 2022.

If deployed, those satellites will be capable of detecting the DPRK's mobile missile launchers within two to three hours on average, the military was quoted as saying.

The indigenous satellite development is part of its Kill Chain system to preemptively detect and destroy the DPRK's possible missile attacks. The Kill Chain is South Korea's own missile defense program along with the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system.

Despite the ongoing development of its homegrown missile defense system, South Korea agreed with the United States early last month to install one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in its soil by the end of next year, triggering strong backlashes from neighboring countries.

Experts said the THAAD battery, composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, an X-band radar and a fire control system, is incapable of shooting down more than 1,000 DPRK missiles targeting South Korea as the THAAD is designed to intercept at an altitude of 40-150 km. DPRK missiles travel at a much lower altitude of 20-30 km.

The THAAD deployment in South Korea is part of the U.S. Pivot-to-Asia strategy to supervise and check China and Russia. The X-band radar is capable of peering into Chinese and Russian territories as it has a detectable range of at least 2,000 km.

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