SEOUL --- South Korea’s indigenous close-in weapon system, currently in the final development phase, will be unable to thwart incoming missiles based on test evaluations, according to military and industry sources.
Nicknamed “Sea Bow,” the Korean surface-to-air anti-missile (K-SAAM) has been in development since 2011 to replace Raytheon’s Rolling Airframe Missile and provide close-in defense for warships. The state-funded Agency for Defense Development is in charge the $140 million project to produce the medium-range, ship-based missile in collaboration with LIG Nex1, a precision-guided missile manufacture.
The project hit a snag, however, as the development period was extended by two years following test failures in 2016, when two of the five missiles missed their respective targets.
In a fresh round of operational tests that began last year, the missile successfully hit nine of the 10 targets, the developers said. But the test results are in dispute since the criteria for the tests were set too lenient to address real-world threats, said a source with knowledge of the evaluations.
“Of the 10 missiles, only two missiles are known to have hit targets being flown low to the sea, while others hit incoming targets as high as over 30 meters above the sea,” the source told Defense News, speaking on condition of anonymity. “That means the K-SAAM has not been proved fairly enough to respond to sea-skimming missiles fired by enemy forces.” (end of excerpt)
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