Thursday, 14 September 2017

South Korea tests ‘stealthy’ cruise missile in show of firepower to nuclear North

The Taurus missile was fired from an F-15 fighter jet and travelled through obstacles at low altitudes before hitting its target

Photo: AP

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 1:36pm

UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 2:36pm

South Korea said Wednesday it conducted its first live-fire drill for an advanced air-launched cruise missile it said would strengthen its pre-emptive strike capability against North Korea in the event of crisis.

South Korea’s military said the Taurus missile fired from an F-15 fighter jet travelled through obstacles at low altitudes before hitting a target off the country’s western coast.

The missile, manufactured by Germany’s Taurus Systems, has a maximum range of 500 kilometres and is equipped with stealth characteristics that will allow it to avoid radar detection before hitting North Korean targets, according to Seoul’s Defence Ministry.

Photo: AP

South Korea has been accelerating efforts to ramp up its military capabilities in face of a torrent of nuclear weapons tests by North Korea, which on September 3 conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

Photo: AP

Soon after the nuke test, Seoul announced it reached an agreement with Washington to remove the warhead weight limits on South Korean ballistic missiles, which under a bilateral guideline could be built for a maximum range of 800 kilometres.

Photo: AP

A pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang’s leadership would be difficult to undertake, but it’s widely seen as the most realistic of the limited military options Seoul has to deny a nuclear attack from its rival.

Photo: AP

The North said its latest nuclear test was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles that were flight tested twice in July. The country is also developing solid-fuel missiles that could be fired from land mobile launchers or submarines. It flew a powerful new midrange missile over northern Japan last month while declaring more missile tests targeting the Pacific Ocean.

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