SEOUL --- South Korea decided Wednesday to mass produce a new type of tactical ground-based missiles designed to destroy underground artillery bases in North Korea, officials said.
During the defense project promotion committee presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook, the government approved the plan to produce more than 200 units of the Korean Tactical Surface to Surface Missile (KTSSM) by 2025, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
Under the 450 billion won (US$406.14 million) project, South Korea successfully developed the new weapon with its own technology, and an additional 320 million won was earmarked for its mass production, the DAPA said.
"This project is to destroy long-range artillery pieces hidden in underground tunnels in order to neutralize enemies' attack at the shortest time possible," the arms procurement agency said in a statement.
The ballistic missile, with a flight range of around 120 kilometers, is capable of striking multiple targets precisely at the same time, the officials said, adding that it is expected to be put into combat operations around 2022.
North Korea revealed its own novel type of surface-to-surface missile in August 2019, and has test-launched them three times. The missile, fired from a caterpillar-type transporter erector launcher (TEL), bears some outward similarities to the U.S.' Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), experts said.
During the meeting, the committee also approved the third round of mass production of the country's main K2 battle tank.
Around 50 units of the home-grown K2 Black Panther will be built by 2023, which requires around 2.83 trillion won, according to DAPA.
Just as those produced in the previous round, the new units will be equipped with a foreign-made transmission, along with a local engine, after a domestically-made transmission fell short of standards, officials said.