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South Korea plans to procure additional PAC-3 air-defence systems

South Korea's DAPA plans to procure additional PAC-3 interceptor missiles to defend Seoul from attack from North Korea. (Lockheed Martin)

South Korea has announced plans to procure additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor missiles and a new naval mine-countermeasures helicopter (MCH).

The country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said on 30 May that the procurements – worth a combined KRW1.72 trillion (USD1.4 billion) – are a direct response to intensified threats from North Korea.

The PAC-3 acquisition features an unspecified number of systems that will be positioned to defend Seoul as well as “key national facilities” from missile attack, said DAPA. Under the project, DAPA also plans to upgrade its existing PAC-2 systems.

The project has been allocated KRW750 billion, with the capability intended to be operational by 2027, said DAPA.

The agency described the MCH programme as a “domestic project” to develop and procure a helicopter to conduct sweeping and clearing operations against enemy mines. The project will also support the national defence industry and create jobs, it said.

DAPA indicated that it wanted the new helicopter to be operational within the Republic of Korea (RoK) Navy by the end of the decade. The project has been allocated an initial KRW970 billion.

The programme is likely to see Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) propose its medium-class MCH platform. This design is derived from the company's Marine Utility Helicopter (MUH), which is a version of KAI's KUH-1 Surion light utility platform.

KAI's proposed MCH features systems including Northrop Grumman's Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), an Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS), and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).


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