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South Korea developing space weather forecast and warning system for military applications

On 19 October DAPA announced that South Korea is developing a new space weather forecast and warning system to help prevent the operational disruption of key military assets due to changes in space weather. (DAPA)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 19 October that the country is developing a new space weather forecast and warning system to support the operation of key military assets.

The new system will foresee changes in space weather conditions and prevent potential disruptions and malfunctioning of onboard communication and navigation systems, specifically Global Positioning System (GPS), thus ensuring stable operations of military assets such as high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles, satellites, and precision-guided weapons, said the agency in a statement.

Cheong Gyu-heon, head of the Command, Control, and Communication Division at DAPA, said this will be the first locally developed system of its kind capable of “accurately observing changes in space weather”, adding that this capability will also help “expand the military use of the space domain”.

The development programme, which is valued KRW16.2 billion (USD13.8 million), started a week prior to the announcement when DAPA signed a contract with local company Satrec Initiative. DAPA said testing and evaluation activities are expected to be under way by 2024 before the system is transferred to the military.

The agency pointed out that the system will make use of several tools designed to observe solar activity, such as a solar optical telescope, a solar radio telescope, and an ionospheric radar.

The collected data will then be analysed by a space weather information processor to make space weather forecasts and issue warnings whenever communication failures, GPS errors, and/or radar interference to electronic devices operated by the military are anticipated.

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