Cheongung medium range SAM, can reach target at 40km range (photo : Defense Update)
South Korea unveils a new medium-range surface-to-air missile the Cheongung M-SAM
In December 2011, South Korea unveils its new new medium-range surface-to-air missile. The Cheongung missile will be deployed from 2013. In the second phase from next year until 2018, the ADD plans to turn the Cheongung into a ballistic interceptor missile, which would lay the groundwork for a Korean version of the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3.
Staff of the Agency for South Korean Defense Development demonstrate the Cheongung surface-to-air missile at the Daejeon headquarters of the Army.
South Korea Korea is the fifth country after Russia, France, Taiwan and Japan to have developed such a weapon. The U.S. is currently developing a high-tech medium-range surface-to-air missile in cooperation with Italy and Germany, under the name of MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense Missile Systems).
The new SAM called ‘Cheongung’ (Iron Hawk) can intercept targets at altitude up to 15 km and at a range of about 40 km. LIG Nex1 plans to begin production in 2012 and according to the original schedule, begin replacing the first MIM-23 Hawk batteries beginning 2013.
Following the induction of the new Cheongung Seoul plans to offer the missile for export. Seoul estimates the market potential of such missiles at over US$2.3 billion. Apparently, the Russian Company that developed the system, Almaz Antey, thought the same as they kept the program alive after transferring the prototypes to Korea. The Russian version known as Vityaz could be ready to replace first generation S-300PS (5V55R) missiles, covering a similar intercept envelope, by the end of their service in 2015.
The South Korean Agency for Defense Development began development of the Cheongung in 2006, but started research in 2001 based on Russia's S-400 missile system. In cooperation with Russia, a Korean engineering team replaced a massive Russian radar system with a small device, which can be installed on a truck. The team also began research on a missile propulsion system based on the small Russian-made 9M96 missile. The radar is installed at the head of the missile to let it trace its own target.