Wednesday, October 21, 2009

South Korea to purchase four spy satellites by 2020


The Defense Ministry will forge technological cooperation with countries including Germany to secure at least four spy satellites by 2012.The ministry yesterday said multipurpose satellites either in use or set for launch are unfit for military activities. This is according to an internal document on military satellites and the Space Exploitation Act obtained by The Dong-A Ilbo.

The military will spend 600 billion to 700 billion won (514 million to 600 million U.S. dollars) by 2020 to purchase four spy satellites.In the document, the ministry said Korea could acquire its own spy satellites with a relatively small budget before 2020 if it joins forces with nations that have developed spy satellites.


One suggestion is that Korea acquires technological know-how by co-running five spy satellites developed and deployed by Germany, develop technologies with Germany, and create two spy satellites exclusively operated by Korea.

The ministry said the Arirang-2, the multipurpose satellite launched in 2006, is unsuitable for military use since it has been developed to satisfy private sector demands, and the same goes for the Arirang-5 set for launch next year and the Arirang-3A slated for blastoff in 2012.

The document said Korea should establish its own spy satellite surveillance system as soon as possible since the orbits and frequency of multipurpose satellites could be leaked to the private-sector driven decision-making system, which allows for image data recorded by multipurpose satellites to be released.

The Arirang-5 and Arirang-3A are insufficient to collect military intelligence since both of them stay over Korean skies for just five minutes per day, it added.

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