Thursday, October 8, 2009

South Korea still waiting for JASSM

The South Korean government has not been able to secure a key missile designed to attack core North Korean missile sites, the JoongAng Ilbo has learned.

According to the data submitted by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration to the National Assembly, Seoul has yet to purchase the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, from the United States. Grand National Party Rep. Kim Jang-soo, former defense minister and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reviewed the information in his capacity as a member of the National Assembly’s standing committee on defense.

According to the data, the U.S. Air Force notified the South on Sept. 11 that it would not be able to sell its JASSM and that it didn’t expect the U.S. government to export the missile to anywhere until mid-2010.

South Korea had planned to acquire 177 of JASSM missiles between 2008 and 2012 for its F-15K fighter jets. Instead, the U.S. Air Force offered to provide information on other weapons that could be equipped on F-15Ks. Sources said the U.S. military found flaws with the weapon’s accuracy in quality tests last April.

The JASSM has a range of at least 370 kilometers (230 miles) and can theoretically strike major North Korean missile bases. The stealthy missile can evade radar. It has been pursued by the South Korean forces as a strategic weapon against North Korea.

Kim said the South Korean forces shouldn’t get too attached to this particular type of weapon and instead should consider other options.

“Otherwise, there may be some holes in our preparation against North Korean threats,” he said.

An official at the acquisition administration said the South Korean military picked JASSM over a German missile called Taurus because the Taurus was about three times as expensive. If that price isn’t lowered by November, the South will consider less costly options, the official added.


I welcome the move of SK trying to purchase JASSM in urgently . Normally India will take at least a decade for taking decision itself, and another decade for field trails .

"ASSM over a German missile called Taurus because the Taurus was about three times as expensive."

Its also apples and oranges. JASSM is a multi-purpose strike weapon. Taurus is a rather specialized design for penetration strikes against considerably hardened targets, underground facilities etc. Its 50 % heavier than JASSM, that gives you an idea. Its dual purpose, but bunker-busting is its main task. Cheap bang for the buck it is not. Israel would like it though.

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