As North Korea prepares for another intercontinental missile test, South Korea continues to modernize its forces and take steps toward full sovereign control of its defenses. “Raytheon Begins SAM-X/Patriot Missile Work in South Korea” described one new piece of the ROK’s defenses. These PAC-2 GEM+ missiles are expected to be operational in 2010, and fully in place by 2012. South Korea doesn’t appear to be aiming as high as Japan, with its license-produced Patriot PAC-3s and long-range naval SM-3 systems, but medium range SM-2 Block IIIA/B missiles fired from ROKN KDX-III destroyers do offer another limited option for the ROK’s coastal cities.
As countries like the UAE have been quick to recognize, turning a series of point defenses into a cohesive system that can respond in time requires long-range detection, and strong regional command-and-control systems. Now, a key contract has been signed, as South Korea prepares to field its Air and Missile Defense Cell (AMD-Cell) radars and command system.