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S. Korea may test-fire new 'high-power' Hyunmoo ballistic missile in near future: source

Feb. 1, 2023 - 19:42 By Yonhap
A screen capture of a video clip for the 2022 Armed Forces Day event shows Hyunmoo ballistic. (Defense Ministry)

South Korea is looking to test-launch a new "high-power" ballistic missile in the near future, an informed source said Wednesday, in a move to bolster deterrence against evolving North Korean military threats.

The country has been working on the development of the missile, known as Hyunmoo-5, as a core asset of its deterrence capabilities.

Earlier in the day, speculation emerged that the state-run Agency for Defense Development may test-fire it at its Anheung test site in Taean, 150 kilometers southwest of Seoul, on Friday due to a navigational warning applicable to nearby waters for Friday and Saturday.

But the defense ministry said there is no plan for any maritime live-fire training Friday, hinting the plan for the missile test might have been canceled or delayed.

The missile is known to be capable of carrying a warhead weighing 8-9 kilograms with a thrust of 75 ton-force, and of descending at a speed of Mach 10 after reaching an apogee.

Its maximum range remains unknown, but observers said that it may be able to fly 3,000 kilometers or farther -- a distance covered by an intermediate-range missile.

The missile, if fielded, is expected to serve as a centerpiece of Seoul's Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR), an operational plan to incapacitate the North Korean leadership in a major conflict.

KMPR is a pillar of the three-axis deterrence structure that includes the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike platform and the Korea Air and Missile Defense system. (Yonhap)