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South Korea completes development of long-range SAM system

The L-SAM is a part of the Korea Air and Missile Defense system, which consists of several layers of capability designed to intercept missiles from North Korea. The L-SAM can intercept missiles at an altitude of 50–60 km, and the Patriot and Cheongung II can intercept missiles at around 40 km altitude. (Janes)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has completed the development of its long-range surface-to-air missile (L-SAM) system, the country's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on 27 May.

According to the MND, the L-SAM fulfilled its “technical development goals and was judged suitable for combat” in a recent DAPA test on the system.

The production of the L-SAM will initiate in 2025, and the system is scheduled to be deployed to the military in the late 2020s, the MND said.

DAPA subsidiary Agency for Defense Development (ADD) has been developing the L-SAM with local military technology firm LIG Nex1 since 2019.

The system is a part of South Korea's indigenous ballistic missile defence (BMD) architecture known as the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system, which comprises the L-SAM, the Cheongung II medium-range SAM (M-SAM), the US-supplied MIM-104 Patriot SAM, and the low-altitude missile defence (LAMD) capability.

According to the MND, the L-SAM is a terminal-stage upper-layer defence system that intercepts ballistic missiles at a higher altitude than the Cheongung II.

It can intercept “an enemy missile at an altitude of 50–60 km when it reaches its peak altitude, and the missiles that [the] L-SAM cannot intercept are intercepted by terminal-stage lower-level defence systems such as [the] Patriot (PAC-2/PAC-3) and [the] Cheongung II at an altitude of around 40 km,” the MND added.

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