S. Korean military conducts 1st live-fire exercise with homegrown anti-aircraft missiles

Li Jiayao

SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korean military on Thursday conducted its first live-fire exercise with its homegrown anti-aircraft missiles, local media reported.

Two medium- range surface-to-air missiles (KM-SAM), named Heaven Arrow, or Cheongung in Korean, were fired to accurately strike a mock target about 40 km away. It flew at a speed of Mach 4.5, or 5,500 km per hour.

The Cheongung is the country's homegrown anti-aircraft missile, using a "cold launch" mechanism unlike other anti-air guided missiles taking a hot launch mechanism.

The anti-aircraft missiles were reportedly deployed to the military late last year.

As the cold launch missile is ignited after being ejected from a vertical tube, it can strike a target in all directions without changing the direction of a launcher.

The Cheongung is of a Block-1 type to target enemy aircraft. The military is pushing for the Block-2 type program to develop missiles intercepting incoming ballistic missiles.

The live-fire exercise was conducted by the Air Defense Artillery Command of the air force at the Daecheon range in South Chungcheong province.

The drill was joined by some 300 troops of 10 units under the command.


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