North Korea’s recent aggressive actions, including abrogation of the 1953 ceasefire, nuclear detonation, and testing of short and long-range missiles, has increased international tensions and directly threatened its southern neighbor. South Korea has been modernizing its defenses for some time now, and a recent request for Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) systems from the United States is a case in point.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced May 26/09 [PDF] South Korea’s official request to buy 46 SM-2 Block IIIA missiles, 35 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, 3 SM-2 Block IIIB Telemetry Missiles for testing, 84 SM-2 missile containers, and associated test and support equipment, spare and repair parts, training, and other forms of support. The estimated cost is $170 million, and the prime contractor will be Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. The sale would require temporary travel for U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the Republic of Korea for in-country training, as a recurring requirement during the life of the missile systems.
How does this purchase fit into South Korea’s overall defense plans?