CBRN Assessment

South Korea to enhance surveillance, WMD detection capabilities

25 January 2017
To counter North Korean threats, the South plans to deploy several new weapon systems in 2017, including an armoured CBRN reconnaissance vehicle (seen here). Source: South Korean MND

South Korea's military plans to deploy several new weapon systems in 2017 to better counter military threats posed by North Korea, including Pyongyang's potential use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul said in a 24 January press release.

"As North Korea's improving nuclear and WMD capabilities have emerged as a serious security threat to the South, the military badly needs to secure advanced weapon systems to effectively respond to such dangers," the MND said.

Largely aimed at enhancing the country's defence, detection, and surveillance capabilities, the systems include an armoured chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance vehicle referred to in the press release as the CBRN Recon Vehicle II, a further development of the K216A1.

"The ability to detect chemical agents at distances of a few kilometres and to integrate chemical and biological reconnaissance systems will greatly improve [our] ability to support CBR operations," said the MND.

The military will also enhance its ability to detect and attack enemy submarines by deploying a new towed-array sonar system, a long-range anti-submarine torpedo and an upgraded version of the Ulsan-class frigate, which the MND hopes will improve the ability to detect and attack enemy submarines by more than 1.5 times.

The MND also plans to use unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance the detection of "North Korean provocations at an early stage by identifying equipment deployed along the lines of the demilitarised zone", which serves as the de facto border between the two countries.

To neutralise mobile ballistic missile threats, South Korea intends to deploy a land-attack variant of Haeseong (SSM-700K) anti-ship missile. Moreover, Seoul and Washington announced last year their decision to deploy the US Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system - an advanced air defence system - to South Korea in 2017.

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