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South Korea to develop new weapons system by 2023

Parstoday 2019-09-17 18:50:03

South Korea is planning to develop a weapons system to detect and strike small drones and eventually larger aircraft, as part of the country’s program to modernize its military and despite efforts to defuse tensions with North Korea.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said on Tuesday that the government would invest 88 billion won (74 million dollars) to develop the system by 2023.

“We aim to improve the system so that it will ultimately be capable of intercepting a fighter jet and satellite,” Song Chang-joon, a senior official at DAPA, said in a statement.

The system, nicknamed Block-I, would track and destroy small drones and other aircraft by locking invisible optical fiber razors on a target at close range.

The South’s military budget, already among the largest in the world, reached 43.1 billion dollars last year for the first time in ten years, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). It was an increase of seven percent compared to 2017.

Back in July, the ministry announced that Seoul would build a light aircraft carrier, which would be the country’s first. Later in August, it unveiled a plan to spend about 239 billion dollars more on defense between 2020 and 2024, about 85 billion dollars of which would be earmarked for arms improvements.