The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) announced on 13 September it had successfully test-fired one of its recently acquired German-built KEPD 350K air-to-surface cruise missiles.
The missile was fired from an F-15K Slam Eagle fighter over the Yellow Sea (also known as the West Sea) and flew some 400 km before accurately hitting the intended target, said the RoKAF, adding that the test demonstrated the missile’s ability to accurately hit key enemy targets and facilities from a long distance.
The test, which took place on 12 September, was designed to “finalise the verification process of the performance and operational capability of the Taurus [KEPD 350K], including the system’s integration with F-15K fighter aircraft”, according to the RoKAF.
The missile, which has a range of up to 500 km, is expected to play an important role in the country’s 'Kill Chain' pre-emptive strike programme designed to destroy missile threats before they leave North Korean territory. “If provoked, our air force will immediately punish our enemy with its excellent precision-strike capability,” a RoKAF colonel involved in the test was quoted as saying in the statement.
The tested Taurus KEPD 350K was launched without its high-explosive warhead using a dummy in consideration of safety in the affected areas.
Against the backdrop of North Korea's continuing provocations, the South Korean military plans to speed up its deployment of the missile to reinforce its air power, an official at the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration, was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying.
In October 2016 the RoKAF began receiving the first lot of Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missiles from Germany. The service had signed a contract for the missiles in November 2013, with reports putting the number at either 170 or 180 missiles.
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