One of South Korea’s core missile interceptors remained out of order for longer than four months last year due to a failure to quickly replace a faulty part, an opposition lawmaker said Monday.
According to a report the Air Force submitted to Rep. Baek Gun-ki of the main opposition Democratic Party, one Patriot Advanced Capability-2 system was left unfixed for 132 days as the Air Force failed to replace the faulty part in the interceptor’s radar system domestically.
The PAC-2 system in question sat idle from March 8 through July 17 and the Air Force had to send it to the U.S. to fix it. The system is part of Seoul’s key defense assets to counter missile threats from North Korea.
Baek pointed out that the U.S. has a systematic program to manage the stockpiles of component parts for old military equipment.
The South Korean military currently has 48 PAC-2 missiles, which it has deployed since 2009 with a budget of 1 trillion won ($931 million). It is now seeking to introduce the more advanced PAC-3 system.
The PAC-2 missiles with fragmentation-type warheads are less lethal than the PAC-3 with warheads employing “hit-to-kill” technology.
By Song Sang-ho