The South Korean Navy wants to procure 12 more helicopters. It currently operates eight AW159 Wildcats.
South Korea’s arms procurement agency has announced a strategy to buy at least 10 anti-submarine helicopters overseas at any given time once the military is keeping weapons procurement programs low-key amid thawing inter-Korean relations.
The plan was authorized by the executive committee from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, presided over by Defense Minister Song Young-moo.
“The DAPA chose to invite foreign bidders to buy advanced anti-submarine warfare helicopters,” the DAPA said inside a news release. “The bid is usually to open the following month while an ideal bidder is always to be selected by having a comprehensive assessment of operational capabilities and expenses.”
The South Korean Navy wants to procure 12 more helicopters for maritime operations by 2022 to mainly help thwart North Korea’s submarine threats, in accordance with Navy sources. The service now operates eight AW159 Wildcats that can be placed on combat ships and may perform anti-submarine, anti-ship and naval reconnaissance missions.
“Once maritime operation helicopters are deployed additionally, the Navy’s multidimensional operation capabilities can be improved further,” a Navy source said, referring to the AW159 of Leonardo Helicopters, Sikorsky’s MH-60R and NHIndustries’ NH-90 as viable candidates.
The DAPA also endorsed a $535 million program to purchase new Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles included in efforts to guard against North Korea’s ballistic missile threat.
The purchase of PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, or MSE, built by Lockheed Martin, is usually to be made with the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, according to DAPA officials.
“This procurement plan is at acquiring more advanced PAC-3 precision-guided missiles to assist protect key facilities inside the Seoul metropolitan area,” the discharge said.
The PAC-3 MSE works on the two-pulse solid rocket motor that increases altitude and range to defend against evolving threats. The missile is known to be capable to hit an incoming missile flying in an altitude of 25 to 30 kilometers, above the normal PAC-3 interceptor that can hit a target in an altitude of 20 kilometers.
In 2015, South Korea ordered PAC-3 interceptors and launcher modification kits to upgrade its used PAC-2 systems purchased from Germany.
The deployment of PAC-3 MSE is expected to assist boost the South Korean military’s multilayered shield of PAC-3 interceptors, with the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system that’s successfully deployed within the southern region of South Korea recently.
The South Korean military can be set to create an indigenous midrange surface-to-air missile shield code-named Cheongung-II, being produced by LIG Nex1, a precision-guided weapons maker in South Korea. The Cheongung-II is really a modified version in the Cheongung anti-aircraft interceptor dubbed Iron Hawk, which was developed determined by Russian technology.
In addition, LIG Nex1 is pushing ahead with offers to develop a long-range surface-to-air missile interceptor that may destroy targets at an altitude of 40 to 60 kilometers.