Amid growing nuclear threats from North Korea, South Korea is expected to start mass production of new mid-range hit-to-kill missile interceptor, a defense official told the country’s Yonhap News Agency on Saturday. The missile interceptor, codenamed M-SAM, will be used as a central element of South’s Korea Air and Missile Defense System against the North, the report added.
The country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration is planning to start the production of M-SAM later this year, Yonhap reported, without mentioning the exact date. The missile interceptors are expected to be deployed in 2019.
M-SAM is capable of intercepting missiles at an altitude of 12-25 miles, the news agency reported. The completion of the missile interceptor reportedly happened two months ahead of its scheduled date in August.
“The prototype of the M-SAM (missile) to intercept an enemy’s ballistic missile was rated fit for combat operation by meeting all the requirements at a test early this month,” the official told Yonhap.
The development comes after the U.S. successfully shot down a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the Pacific Ocean using a long-range interceptor missile May 30. The test was widely seen as a test of Washington’s ability to counter growing nuclear power of North Korea, which has threatened to launch its ICBM — capable of reaching the mainland U.S. After the successful test, which was carried out from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Pentagon said, the intercept was a “direct hit” and an “obliteration” of the target.
North Korea reacted to the U.S. test and said the move was a military provocation.
“Such a risky act is a sign that their (U.S.) preparations for unleashing a nuclear war against the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] have reached the final phase,” a spokesman for North Korea’s Strategic Force told the country’s…