South Korea develops portable anti-aircraft missile
Seoul, October 30
South Korea's state-run defence institute said on Thursday it had developed a portable surface-to-air guided missile for the first time.
The Agency for Defence Development (ADD) said it would begin mass-producing the Singung, nicknamed Chiron, missiles early next year for operational deployment.
"Singung will significantly enhance the military's morale and the air-defence system," ADD's chief missile developer Lee Un-bong told a news conference held at the defence ministry.
Lee said the 60 million dollar project was the first time South Korea developed a portable anti-aircraft missile.
Tests showed the missile could hit more than 90 percent of targeted aircraft flying at a distance of up to seven kilometers (4.3 miles) and at a speed of mach 0.7-0.8, he said.
South Korea has an unidentified number of French-made Mistral and US-made Stinger missiles, while North Korea is said to have around 1,000 mostly Russian-made shoulder-launched SA-7s and SA-16s.
The ADD said the Singung missile costs around 180 million won (153,000 dollars), cheaper than a Mistral which costs Seoul 230 million won.
It said it expects to produce 500 Singung annually from next year.