Seoul: South Korea will develop high-altitude interceptor missiles to cope with North Korea’s ballistic missiles, the head of a state-run defence research agency said on 10 April.
Ahn Dong-Mahn, head of the Agency for Defence Development (ADD), also said South Korea had joined the international race to develop electromagnetic E-bombs capable of disabling enemy computers and radio or radar receivers.
In an interview with the Korea Defence Daily, Ahn said the agency and 16 other defence companies planned to develop a medium-range ground-to-air missile, known as Iron Hawk-II, by 2011.
“We will add modifications to Iron Hawk-II to produce interceptor missiles against guided missiles,” Ahn was quoted as saying.
North Korea has deployed short-range Scuds and Rodongs with a range of 1,300 km, while actively developing longer-range Taepodong missiles that theoretically could reach parts of the US.
It launched a Taepodong over Japan in 1998, sparking a major security alert.
Ahn also said the ADD planned to develop electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high power microwave (HPM) bombs by 2015.
“We have drawn up a roadmap to develop EMP and HPM technology into future precision-strike weapons,” Ahn said, adding other advanced countries have been secretly developing this technology.
EMP and HPM technology has matured to the point where practical E-bombs are becoming technically feasible, experts say.
The EMP effect, first observed during the early testing of high altitude airburst nuclear weapons, is characterised by the production of a strong electromagnetic shock wave that inflicts irreversible damage on electrical and electronic equipment.
HPM bombs fry any electronic equipment within their impact area such as computers and radar, leaving the enemy defenceless.