Tuesday, December 07, 2010

South Korea Seeks Budget Increase for Arms Plans

SEOUL - The South Korean military requested an additional 353.5 billion won ($307 million) from the National Assembly on Nov. 29 to acquire weapons to defend four islands in the western waters of the peninsula over the next two years.
The proposal comes after North Korea's deadly Nov. 23 shelling of one of the islands.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) also requested an additional 102.1 billion won for operating costs and rebuilding the attacked island, Yeonpyeong, some 12 kilometers from the North's mainland across the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto sea border drawn up by the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the end of the Korean War.
The two organizations had originally reported Nov. 25 to the Assembly the need of an additional 263.6 billion, but the figure went up as lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties have called for spending more to defend the islands from about 1,100 artillery pieces deployed by the North's army along the sea border.
Of the requested 35.3 billion won for arms improvement, 88.4 billion won will be spent to buy about 70 GPS-guided Spike missiles developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems by 2012 to help strike caves and tunnels with the North's artillery guns, according to the arms agency.
Military officials say there are limits to hitting the North's artillery and multiple rocket launcher strongholds precisely with the existing K9 self-propelled howitzer.
Spike is a fourth-generation man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile with tandem-charge HEAT warhead. South Korea plans to purchase the Non Line of Sight variant, which is built to allow strikes on the tops of vehicles or other targets. The manufacturer says the missile can hit targets up to 25 kilometers.
The DAPA also will spend 40.7 billion won to procure scores of intermediate-range GPS-guided missiles, the agency said.
In addition, 86.6 billion won was set aside for deploying at least 20 more K9s on the islands, it said. The numbers of K9s on Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong are to be tripled to 18 next year.
The agency requested 37.2 billion won to upgrade existing AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radars introduced in the early 1990s. Currently, South Korea's Army and Marine Corps operate about 18 of the weapon-locating radar with an analog target acquisition mechanism.
The procurement of hostile artillery locating (HALO) systems also is planned with the investment of 8.7 billion won. The HALO system, built by SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems UK, a Finmeccanica company, is a viable candidate, as a South Korean contingent in Afghanistan is using the system. The JCS plans to deploy HALOs on Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong by the end of 2011.
HALO systems use passive acoustic locators, precise meteorological monitoring and terrain data to fix and identify hostile artillery, mortars, and even improvised explosive devices.
"HALO systems will help supplement problems with the AN/TPQ-37, which can miss fast, low-flying artillery, as they use multiple acoustic sensors," a JCS official said.
For upgrading unmanned aerial vehicles for a naval intelligence ship, the JCS requested 63.9 billion won to introduce imaging sensors to detect enemy movements regardless of whether it is day or night, he added.
In September, the Ministry of National Defense submitted its budget for next year scaled at about 31.2 trillion won, about a 5.8 percent increase from the previous year, citing the need for bolstering its defense capability in the aftermath of the sinking of the Cheonan ship in March. Forty-six sailors were killed in the incident, which allegedly was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine.
Of them, the ministry planned to spend 9.6 trillion won for arms improvement plans, while 21.6 trillion won were to go to maintaining its 655,000-strong armed forces.
Key arms procurement programs include the delivery of Boeing-built airborne early warning and control systems and F-15K fighter jets; introduction of a Global Hawk reconnaissance plane; purchase of low observable standoff cruise missiles; development of an Aegis destroyer, and submarines and anti-submarine torpedoes, according to the DAPA.

No comments:

Post a Comment

no offensive and abusive language please