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South Korea develops Hycore hypersonic cruise missile

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has disclosed to Janes some details about its plans to develop a hypersonic cruise missile (HCM).

The capability is being sought in light of increasing launches of claimed hypersonic weapons by North Korea. Since September 2021 Pyongyang has said it has launched three such weapons, with two in January 2022.

DAPA told Janes that its Agency for Defense Development (ADD) is undertaking research into hypersonic technologies with the aim to develop a weapon that would bolster South Korean national security. Janes understands that the name of the new HCM is Hycore.

β€œThe Agency for Defense Development is currently researching core technologies to study the high temperature characteristics that occur during hypersonic flight and the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle at high speed,” a DAPA spokesperson said,

DAPA did not disclose any additional information. However, Janes understands that DAPA aims to test the ground-launched missile in 2022. Research on the project has reportedly been under way since 2018.

Janes also understands that ADD's industry partner is Hanwha Corporation. Hanwha has not released any information about the project.

However, a video of the HCM leaked on social media suggests that Hycore features a two-stage solid-fuel rocket and scramjet engine. The video also shows that the envisaged missile has a length of 8.7 m and weighs 2.4 tonnes. At second-stage booster, the weapon reaches a speed of Mach 6.2. Range has not been stated.

DAPA and ADD have increased focus on the development of HCM capability in the past two years in response to growing concern about North Korea military modernisation.

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