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Seoul steps up efforts to bolster missile and air-defence capabilities

South Korea has announced plans to strengthen missile and air-defence capability. For the Republic of Korea Army, the move is aligned with projects to integrate assets including the locally developed KTSSM tactical ballistic missile system. (ADD)

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) has outlined plans to restructure and reinforce key missile and air defence regiments in response to growing threats from North Korea.

The plans involve reorganising the Republic of Korea Army's (RoKA's) Missile Command unit as well as the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) Air Defense Missile Command. A spokesperson from the MND told Janes on 18 February that the restructures will commence in April.

Under the plans, the RoKA's Missile Command unit will be renamed as Missile Strategic Command and will be expanded and restructured, with revised leadership-ranking requirements.

The MND said in legal notices seen by Janes that the restructure will enable a shift from the unit's current operational requirement of “strike operations” to one that is focused on “strategic and operational target-strike missions”.

According to the MND, plans to bolster the RoKAF's Air Defense Missile Command are a response to a requirement for an expanded multilayered air-defence system. Its notices said such threats include those related to North Korea's nuclear missiles and long-range artillery.

The name of the RoKAF's Air Defense Missile Command will also change, but the MND has not provided details.

“The Air Defense Missile Command is being expanded to respond to various air threats,” said one of the notices. “The unit will be reorganised to monitor strategic and operational air threats and perform complex and wide-area multilayered missile defence and regional air-defence missions.”

The MND provided no additional details about the plans to enhance the RoKA's Missile Command unit and the RoKAF's Air Defense Missile Command.

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