South Korea boasts of new radar technology, citing ‘increasing’ missile threats

SOUTH KOREA (May 11, 2022)—South Korea has completed development of enhanced radar technology capable of effectively tracking multiple incoming warheads, marking a significant step for Seoul’s indigenous self-defense capabilities. 

The Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a government-funded research agency, announced the technology’s completion in a press release on Tuesday.

“ADD has independently developed ‘Warhead Categorization and Radar Resource Management Optimization Technology,’ a core radar technology for detecting and tracking ballistic missiles,” the press release says. 

In short, the technology allows South Korea to more reliably track multiple warheads. Conventional radar technology struggles to differentiate between a warhead and the canisters, propellant and other missile debris that fall off during flight.

“The new radar technology is significant because it’s a core technology that’s intertwined with South Korea’s continued progress in Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD),” Jo Bee-yun, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis (KIDA), told NK News

KAMD is South Korea’s prototype indigenous missile defense system.

Although the ADD does not mention North Korea, the agency says the technology is “essential for independent, domestic air defense operations in preparation for the increasing threat of ballistic missiles.”

The announcement also comes just days after a spate of North Korean missile tests, including one suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from Sinpho and an unknown ballistic missile from Pyongyang’s Sunan area. 

May be an image of mapA conceptual diagram of long-range radar operations in South Korea | Image: Defense Acquisition Program Administration

Development began in 2018 under the Moon Jae-in administration as part of an initiative by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, ADD’s parent agency. “Today’s advancement has been the product of homegrown efforts and devoid of foreign technology transfers,” ADD added.

The advancement in South Korea’s indigenous defense capabilities was announced the same day that hawkish President Yoon Suk-yeol took office. 

“As missile threats diversify in quantity, ranges and types, the new technology signifies South Korea’s accomplishments and recognition of the changing threat environment,” Jo of KIDA said.

The new radar technology marks a significant improvement in KAMD. Much of the country’s missile defense capabilities still rely on sensitive U.S. military technology — much of which Washington is hesitant to share, even with Seoul — such as Aegis-equipped ships and Patriot missile systems.

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Source: NK News

Featured Photo: A test of the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program, July 30, 2009 | Image: U.S. Missile Defense Agency via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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