South Korea to Buy European Missiles

Taurus Missile

From AFP:  South Korea will buy European bunker-busting missiles as the United States refused to sell the same kind of weapons to the country, the state procurement agency said Wednesday.

At a meeting presided over by Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin, the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) approved a plan to purchase air-to-ground missiles with a 500-kilometre (312.5 mile) range from the German-Swedish joint venture Taurus System.

The number of missiles and proposed budget have not been confirmed yet, it said. But Yonhap news agency said South Korea planned to buy about 170 Taurus bunker busters worth more than $300 million in total.

From Korea Times:  A U.S.-made air-to-ground missile South Korea has pushed to purchase in order to arm its main F-15K fighter jets does not fit the aircraft because of a design inconsistency with the missile, a senior procurement official said Monday. . . .

A recent test showed, however, that Lockheed’s JASSM doesn’t fit the F-15K, as its upper wing folds only to the left side. The Defense Acquisition and Procurement Administration (DAPA) has asked Boeing, the F-15K maker, and Lockheed Martin about ways to install the missile on the F-15K, but both have not responded, the official said.

"To install the JASSMs in both wings of the F-15K, either F-15K’s pylon or the JASSM’s upper wing should be modified, but it would cost a lot," the official said. . . .

Another standoff missile by German defense contractor Taurus has a longer missile strike capability with a 500-km range, but it would need much more than the budget proposed by the government.

"The DAPA has negotiated with Taurus officials until recently, but gaps remain over the price," the official said, without elaborating.

From Lee Tae-hoon, Korea Times:  He [an industry official] maintained that DAPA hinted the possibility of dropping its purchase plan for JASSMs and asked the TSG representative over the feasibility of acquiring 200 German-made the fire-and-forget missiles at a unit price of 1.7 billion won.

The industry source said TSG is willing to negotiate with DAPA over a price cut of the Taurus, which a DAPA official said was offered at 3.6 billion won when Seoul requested quotations in 2009.

“TSG can offer Taurus at 2.5 billion won or lower, a very attractive price to Korea, and deliver them in eight to 12 months upon the signing of the sales agreement,” he said.  (photo: Korea Times

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