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Surface-to-Air Missile Project to Begin in June


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By Jung Sung-ki

Staff Reporter

The country's weapons acquisition agency announced Wednesday that it will start a $625 billion project to develop middle-range surface-to-air missiles, code-named ``M-SAM,'' this June.


The procurement deliberation committee of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) approved the project, which will enter service in 2010, a spokesman of the agency said.


The missile will be co-developed by about 15 Korean defense firms and Russia which will give technological help in such areas as electronic guidance, he said.


The M-SAM program, initiated in 1998, is aimed at developing a missile capable of hitting a target of 30 to 60 kilometers away, replacing aging Hwak missiles. Hawk missiles with a striking range of 150 kilometers, have been the backbone of South Korea's anti-aircraft system against the growing threat posed by North Korean ballistic missile.


The committee, headed by Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung, also approved the Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) to develop advanced utility helicopters in partnership with Eurocopter, a Franco-Germany consortium, under a $1.3 billion deal.

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