The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) has conducted its first live-fire drill of the Cheongung ('Celestial/Firmament') Korean medium-range surface-to-air missile (KM-SAM or M-SAM) since officially deploying the system, the Yonhap news agency reported on 2 November.
Several Cheongung Block-1 anti-aircraft guided missiles were fired as part of a firing contest held at the Daecheon shooting range in South Korea's South Chungcheong Province. The missiles that flew at a peak speed reported to be Mach 4.5, accurately striking a mock target located some 40 km away, according to the media outlet.
Among the other weapons fired at RoKAF-operated unmanned aerial targets were the mid-range Patriot system, short-range Mistral man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) and 20 mm cannon-based Vulcan Air Defense Systems (VADS), according to Yonhap.
Hosted by the RoKAF's Air Defense Artillery Command, the annual ground-to-air live-fire competition is aimed at sharpening the capability of countering various aerial threats infiltrating at a mid to low altitude.
The Cheongung Block-1 was deployed to local combat units in late 2016 in an anti-aircraft role and uses a "cold launch" mechanism unlike some other anti-aircraft guided missiles, according to Yonhap.
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