A homegrown torpedo failed to hit the target again in the latest test-firing conducted earlier this month, an official said Sunday, raising questions about possible faulty designs and casting clouds over the prospect of resuming its production.
The Navy has test-fired four rounds of the torpedo, named "Hongsangeo," or "Red Shark," since July in waters off the east coast. The first three rounds hit the target, but the final one went off the mark, the official at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said.
About 50 rounds of the torpedo had already been deployed since 2010, but its production was suspended after it failed to hit the target in a test-firing in July last year. The Navy has since conducted a series of additional tests, but the torpedo failed to meet a required accuracy rate.
Officials plan to review the latest tests and determine whether to resume production.
The state-funded Agency for Defense Development created Hongsangeo over nine years from 2000 with a budget of 100 billion won (US$92 million). Some of the destroyers were loaded with the 5.7-meter-long torpedoes in early 2012.
The two-stage torpedo is launched vertically from a destroyer and flies for about 20 kilometers before submerging into the sea to track and destroy a target. A precision-guided weapon like Red Shark should demonstrate more than a 75 percent success rate to be suited for combat assignments. (Yonhap news)