South Korea will soon become one of the few countries to produce supersonic cruise missiles, senior defence officials said Monday. The technology will significantly improve Seoul's defence capabilities against North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.
The new ship-to-surface cruise missiles, dubbed the Haeseong II, will have a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles). This will allow the missile to target most of North Korea's major military facilities, the Korea Times reported.
The Haeseong II may be deployed in 2013. It is a supersonic modification of the anti-ship Haeseong I, which was developed with a range of 150 kilometers in 2003 and has already been deployed, according to the report.
''All I can say for now is that it will be able to fly faster than Mach 1,'' a senior official at the state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said on condition of anonymity.
Though he declined to provide more details, as the project is classified, he noted that the supersonic missile was capable of evading the North's defence systems and striking launch pads with high accuracy.
Seoul deployed the Haeseong I on KDX-II and Aegis-equipped KDX-III destroyers, each carrying eight and 16 of these missiles respectively.