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Military Capabilities

South Korea displays advanced missile systems for Armed Forces Day

29 September 2017

The South Korean military displayed some of its most advanced missile systems on 28 September at an event to mark the upcoming 69th anniversary of the country's Armed Forces Day.A South Korean soldier stands in front of what local media has referred to as the launch vehicle for the locally developed Hyeonmu-3 LACM in late September. The South Korean military displayed some of its most advanced missile systems on 28 September at a ceremony to mark the 69th anniversary of the country's Armed Forces Day. (AFP/Getty Images)A South Korean soldier stands in front of what local media has referred to as the launch vehicle for the locally developed Hyeonmu-3 LACM in late September. The South Korean military displayed some of its most advanced missile systems on 28 September at a ceremony to mark the 69th anniversary of the country's Armed Forces Day. (AFP/Getty Images)

Among the systems shown at the event, which was held in Pyeongtaek at the headquarters of the Republic of Korea Navy's Second Fleet, were four launchers for the locally developed Hyeonmu (pronounced Hyunmoo) family of missiles, including two versions of the Hyeonmu-2 ballistic missiles - most likely the 2B and 2C.

Also displayed were four more mobile launchers using the same base launch vehicle, but featuring two smaller launch canisters. The Yonhap news agency reported that these smaller canisters were for the Hyeonmu-3 land-attack cruise missile (LACM), which can reportedly strike targets at a distance of 1,000 km.

This system, however, was different in two primary ways from the one that had been initially referred to as the Hyeonmu-3 during a parade held at an air base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, in October 2013 to mark the 65th anniversary of Armed Forces Day.

First, the recently displayed system used the same armoured truck-based launcher vehicle as the Hyeonmu-2, and not the unarmoured truck seen in 2013. Moreover, its missile launch canisters would seem to be about half the diameter of those seen in the 2013 model, and not much larger than those used for the also-displayed Cheongung ('Celestial/Firmament') Korean medium-range surface-to-air missile (KM-SAM or M-SAM).

In October 2013 South Korea paraded what was referred to at the time as the mobile launcher for the Hyeonmu-3 LACM to mark the 65th Armed Forces Day. (Getty Images)In October 2013 South Korea paraded what was referred to at the time as the mobile launcher for the Hyeonmu-3 LACM to mark the 65th Armed Forces Day. (Getty Images)

Among the other missile guided weapons displayed at the ceremony, which was presided by President Moon Jae-in, were the German-built KEPD 350K air-to-surface cruise missile, the SPICE 2000 guided bomb, the JDAM GBU-31 guided bomb, the AGM-84H SLAM-ER air-launched LACM, the Haeseong (SSM-700K) anti-ship cruise missile, and a SM-2MR Block IIIA or IIIB surface-to-air missile.

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