Saturday, February 5, 2011

South Korea To Deploy Guided Imaging Rockets On Border Islands

SEOUL - South Korea plans to eventually deploy precision-guided rockets jointly developed with the United States on islands near the disputed western sea border with North Korea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Feb. 4.

The deployment of the Low-Cost Guided Imaging Rocket (LOGIR) is aimed at thwarting a possible infiltration by North Korean combat hovercraft in the western waters of the Korean Peninsula, a JCS spokesman said.
Previously, the local Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities have detected construction work being done for a base in the Koampo area in Hwanghae province, just 50 to 60 kilometers from South Korea's Baengnyeong Island, one of the five islands near the NLL. 

The base is presumed to be able to accommodate up to 70 hovercraft, and each of the air-cushion vehicles can carry a platoon and travel up to 90 kilometers per hour across water and mud flats, according to the report."Recent intelligence indicates that North Korea has forward-deployed its high-speed hovercraft to a naval base near the Northern Limit Line (NLL)," the spokesman said. "If that's true, there is a limit for us to responding to it only with coastal artillery guns. So we're considering the deployment of the 70mm guided rocket to the border islands."
North Korea has rejected recognizing the NLL, drawn up by the U.S.-led United Nations Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, making occasional provocations near the border.
In March 2010, South Korea said its patrol ship Cheonan was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine near the border. Forty-six sailors were killed. The North also fired about 170 shells from its coastal artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers in November onto Yeonpyeong Island, killing four people, including two South Korean Marines.
Since then, South Korea has vowed to fortify the islands by deploying more troops and high-tech weapons, such as the Israeli GPS-guided Spike missile and the Swedish ARTHUR artillery-finding radar.
The 60-billion-won LOGIR project was signed by the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center and South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD) in 2007.
The joint project aims to equip the 2.75 inch (70mm) unguided air-to-air or air-to-ground rocket, or Hydra 70, with a precision-guidance system, an infrared-ray-image sensor with a rocket motor and wings.
The first test-launch of the rocket system was successfully made in June.
The weapon is schedule to begin service by 2014, and the U.S. Navy is expected to buy about 30,000 LOGIRs, according to the ADD.
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to boost its defenses against North Korea's possible artillery attacks on the border islands, the South Korean military has ordered more ARTHUR weapons locating systems from Swedish defense group Saab under a contract worth nearly $69 million, according to Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the supplier.
The new batch of ARTHURs will be manufactured by LIG Nex1, an electronic weapons maker in South Korea, with technical assistance from Saab.
The South Korean Army first ordered six ARTHURs in 2007.
"We are delighted to have received this important additional order from South Korea that further proves our customer's confidence in the capabilities of our weapon locating system, Arthur," said Micael Johansson, senior vice president and head of Saab's Electronic Defense Systems business.
The ARTHUR is a stand-alone, C-band, medium-range weapon-locating system that detects and locates enemy fire using a passive phased-array antenna technology for optimized battlefield performance.
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