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HEADLINE: S-400 technology powers South Korean missiles

STRAP: Leading-edge Russian technology will be at the heart of South Korean

SLBMS and air defence systems aimed at neutralising North Koreas missile

Advanced missile technology that went into Russias deadly S-400 Triumf missile
defense system is powering the South Korean ballistic and air defense missile
Partly in response to North Koreas deployment of nuclear missiles and
submarines, Seoul has beefed up its armaments industry with generous doses of
Russian technology. Among the most critical projects are a submarine-launched
ballistic missile (SLBM) and the M-SAM Cheolmae-2 medium-to-long range
surface-to-air missile.
South Korea hopes to one-up the North, which is applying the technology of the
Russian S-300 missile to its SLBMs. According to Lee Choon-geun, senior
researcher at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea uses
more stable technology from the S-400, which is a generation ahead of the S300.
The S-400 is a highly advanced missile with embedded cold-launching
technology. Cold-launched missiles are critical for South Koreas brand new 3000ton Jangbogo-III submarine. During a cold launch, the rocket engine fires after
the missile reaches a certain altitude. This mechanism allows ballistic missiles to
be fired from under water, thereby making it possible for the submarine to
remain submerged. A high-ranking military official told Korea Joongang Daily
( the
development of the new SLBM is expected to be completed by 2020.
The Daily reports the South Korean Navys arsenal currently includes the
submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). However, as North Koreas efforts to
develop SLBM technology has almost reached completion, the need within the
South Korean military to initiate a response has become urgent.
Although the SLBM may lack the accuracy of the SLCM, which is equipped with a
guidance system, its velocity and destructive capability are significantly
greater, says Kim Hyeok-soo, former rear admiral and the first commander of a
South Korean submarine flotilla. The deployment of the speedy and stealthy
SLBM will allow the South Korean Navy to deliver a blow to North Korea before
the situation even escalates to emergency levels.
Air defense of the South
Meanwhile, the M-SAM is being jointly developed by Samsung Group and French
electronics defense contractor Thales Group. Richard Weitz, Director of the
Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, writes:

( The M-SAM will

use S-400 missile technology provided from the Almaz Antey Joint Stock
Company, including proprietary information from the S-400s multifunction Xband radar. LG Corps missiles guidance systems are expected to also use
Russian design elements.
The M-SAM Cheolmae-2 is designed to engage both ballistic missiles and aircraft.
If the South Koreans are able to achieve anything close to Russias S-400, they
will have a fearsome weapon with which to take on the Norths armoury of
ballistic missiles.
With a tracking range of 600 km and the ability to hit targets 400 km away at a
blistering speed of 17,000 km an hour faster than any existing aircraft the S400 is a truly scary weapon. First deployed by Russia in 2010, each S-400
battalion has eight launchers, a control centre, radar and 16 missiles available as
Given its extremely long range and effective electronic warfare capabilities, the
S-400 is a game-changing system that challenges current military capabilities at
the operational level of war, Paul Giarra, president, Global Strategies and
Transformation, told Defense News.
According to Air Power Australia, The S-300P/S-400 family of surface to air
missile systems is without doubt the most capable SAM system in widespread
use in the Asia Pacific region. It adds: While the S-300P/S-400 series is often
labelled Russia's Patriot, the system in many key respects is more capable than
the US Patriot series, and in later variants offers mobility performance and thus
survivability much better than that of the Patriot.
For decades, South Koreans have lived in fear of North Koreas missile threats.
The new generation missiles will finally allow South Korea to close that window of
Changing Russia-South Korea defense partnership
As a key US ally and loyal customer of American weapons, South Korea is an
unlikely buyer of Russian weapons. In fact, Seouls defense trade with Moscow
grew in an unlikely way. In 1991, after the Cold War ended, South Korea extended
$1 billion in cash loans and a $470 million commodities loan as a reward for
Moscows recognition of South Korea. However, the Soviet Union went under the
same year.
Unable to repay the loans in cash, Russia began supplying what it had in plenty
military equipment such as T-90 tanks, infantry combat vehicles and helicopters.
The first two arms-for-debt deals all known as Brown Bear were inked in 1995
and 2003.

However, Seoul did not want to keep importing readymade weapons platforms,
even if the South Korean military was thrilled with the high-octane Russian
military gear. There were two reasons for this. One, since Seoul is closely
integrated with Americas military ecosystem, Russian weapons are not easily
integrated. This is, of course, an old American ploy to edge out rivals and
increase the market share for its own weapons. At any rate, the South Koreans
decided to stop wholesale purchases of Russian weapons.
Secondly, the South Koreans became more ambitious. They wanted to build a
world class military industrial complex in step with their dominance in a number
of commercial sectors. The government's Defense Reform 2020 initiative is
aimed at developing the country's indigenous capabilities via defense R&D. The
transfer of cutting-edge S-400 technology is part of this plan.
Seung-Ho Joo and Tae-Hwan Kwak write in their book Korea in the 21st Century:
South Korea may find economic benefits in military cooperation with Russia.
Seoul and Moscow can jointly develop advanced technology and high-tech
weapons and sell them in the world market. The relationship between the two
countries may be mutually complementary: Russia has two advantages in basic
sciences and advanced technologies, while South Korea has strengths in
marketing skills and capital.
The S-400 isnt cheap it costs around $500 million per battalion. Thats why
only countries with deep pockets like China and India (which is negotiating a
deal) will be fielding this weapon. But to the credit of the South Koreans, they
beat both the Chinese and the Indians to this prized weapon by more than a
Flip side of tech transfers
To be sure, Russia could face some hiccups over the transfer of such leading
edge weapons. South Koreas close alliance with the United States means there
is a chance of sensitive Russian technology ending up in Americas hands. One of
the reasons Russia is not unduly worry about US stealth fighters such as the F-22
and F-25 is that the Russian air defense system is considered impregnable to
these aircraft. The S-400 is one of those wonder weapons in the Russian arsenal
that have neutralised the threat from fifth generation fighters.
However, if South Korea passes on the secrets of the S-400 to the US, it would
compromise Russian and Chinese air defense to some extent. For instance, the
1976 flight of a Soviet defector in the top secret MiG-25 fighter forced Russia to
produce new radar and missile systems for the aircraft at considerable cost.
Secondly, if South Korea integrates the S-400-based M-SAM into the American
missile defense system, Russia could potentially have to face-off its own missiles
in any future conflict with the US.
But with the next generation S-500 missiles coming online, Russia will not lose
too much sleep over any potential leak of secrets. For, once you export

something, its a given that your competitors will get their hands on it sooner or