(Korea Herald) South Korea’s military on Oct 19, 2017 announced a plan to develop “Frankenmissile” to counter North Korea’s escalating missile and nuclear capabilities in a bid to overwhelm the North during the initial phase of the war.
In its report to an annual parliamentary audit by the National Assembly’s Defense Committee, the Army said they would develop the “Hyunmoo IV” surface-to-surface missile, powerful enough to destroy North Korea’s underground military facilities and command center.
Combined with indigenous tactical surface-to-surface missiles and Hyunmoo-class intermediate-range ballistic missiles, the advanced pre-emptive strike capability would inflict “unbearable cost” to the North by neutralizing the North’s nuclear and missile sites, as well as long-range artillery units.
South Korea would use three types of missiles in their first salvos.
South Korea has been suspected of working on advancing ballistic missiles capability since it struck a deal with the US to scrap limits on the missiles’ payload in September. Previously, Seoul was banned from fitting warheads weighing more than 500 kilograms on its ballistic missiles with a range of over 800 kilometers.
The development of such an advanced ballistic missile is a part of the Army’s effort to establish a “game-changing” operational concept, which is designed to minimize civilian casualties and end the war as soon as possible, the Army said.
The “five-pillar” concept calls for the military to develop high-precision powerful missile, establish agile maneuver corps, build units using drones and robots, develope advanced battle system and create a special warfare brigade for “deception strikes” against North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
South Korea’s Marine Corps, for its part, announced a plan to establish a new command dedicated to protecting border islands, pledging to defend the sea border against North Korea’s potential attacks and infiltration attempts.
The Marine Corps said the new command will be built around 2020 and based on the current Northwestern Island Defense Command. It was formed in 2011 following North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeongpyeongdo, one of the farmost islands in the West Sea.
The new fleet will include several 6,000-ton KDDX Aegis destroyers and three additional 7,600-ton KDX-III Aegis destroyers. The KDDX ships, which will be built in the mid-2020s, are to be equipped with an advanced ballistic missile defense system and ship-to-surface missiles.
By Dec 1, 2017, South Korea will have a brigade-sized unit, known as The Spartan 3000, would form the bulk of this force. The 2,000 to 4,000 member strong force would be able to quickly infiltrate into North Korea in the dead of night using a variety of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, not unlike the North Korean military’s own plans to launch massive commando raids using its fleet of aging An-2 biplanes.
The South Korean government plans to launch five spy satellites between 2021 and 2023 and could rent commercial-grade space-based assets in the meantime. In addition, the country’s military is in the process of buying a number of long-range, high altitude RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones.