South Korea has struck a $43 million deal with an Israeli company to buy advanced rockets to protect a front-line area attacked by North Korea last year, officials said yesterday.
South Korea will deploy 67 Spike NLOS rockets on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands in the Yellow Sea as early as late this year, a South Korean government arms procurement official said. Four South Koreans were killed on Yeonpyeong when the North shelled it last November.
The official, who declined to be identified, citing policy, said the deal was made in July after the Israeli weapon received the best performance review from South Korean military officials. Another South Korean arms procurement official confirmed the information.
Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems says the rockets can fly up to 15 miles and hit hidden targets. South Korea has been struggling to find ways to take out North Korea’s hidden coastal artillery should it attack again.
South Korea’s efforts to boost weapons systems on the front-line islands follow intense criticism that defense officials failed to respond strongly and quickly enough after the North’s attack last year.
South Korea currently has self-propelled guns, vulcan cannons, multi-rocket launchers, radars and other advanced weapons deployed on the islands, as well as thousands of marines. In June, Seoul set up a separate defense command in charge of troops on the islands.