S. Korea Seeks More Patriot Missiles as N. Korea Eyes Rocket Launches

The South Korean military on Oct. 1 conducts a parade. The South is seeking to purchase more than 100 Patriot air-defense missiles and associated technology upgrades from the United States as it seeks to improve its defenses against North Korea (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images).
The South Korean military on Oct. 1 conducts a parade. The South is seeking to purchase more than 100 Patriot air-defense missiles and associated technology upgrades from the United States as it seeks to improve its defenses against North Korea (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images).

The U.S. Defense Department on Friday alerted Congress that South Korea wants to bolster its Patriot air-defense system, while North Korea meanwhile is expected to be eyeing more long-range rocket launches.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency -- a Pentagon branch that oversees foreign-military sales -- said Seoul had formally proposed buying 112 Patriot Anti-Tactical Missiles and associated support equipment and personnel training, according to an agency press release. The purchased missiles also would be upgraded to run on the Guided Enhanced Missile-Tactical configuration. The deal with Raytheon Co. is projected to be worth $404 million.

The requested missiles will be enhanced versions of the Patriot Advanced Capability 2 systems that South Korea already possesses.

"These upgraded missiles will provide [South Korea] with an enhanced capability to defend against ballistic missile, aircraft and cruise missile threats," the Pentagon release says.

The South is seeking to import the air-defense technology in accordance with efforts to improve its national antimissile capabilities against North Korea, which is enhancing its own offensive missile capabilities.

Pyongyang on Wednesday told a U.N. General Assembly committee gathering it would continue to carry out satellite launches, though no specifics were offered on the timeline for the next rocket firing, according to a Yonhap News Agency report. While North Korea insists its rocket firings are peaceful, much of the international community views them as covers for intercontinental-ballistic missile tests. The North's last rocket launch in December 2012 was punished with heightened U.N. Security Council sanctions.

October 28, 2013
About

The U.S. Defense Department on Friday alerted Congress that South Korea wants to bolster its Patriot air-defense system, while North Korea meanwhile is expected to be eyeing more long-range rocket launches.