South Korea to buy SM-2 missiles from U.S. in $313.9M sale

May 20 (UPI) — The South Korean military was approved to purchase $313.9 million in missiles from U.S. manufacturers, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.

The Republic of Korea was approved to buy up to 94 rounds of SM-2 Block IIIB Standard medium-range surface-to-air missiles and 12 MK97 MOD 0 guidance sections, equipment used to aim the missiles, DSCA said on Friday.

Technical assistance, training, technical data and related logistic support is included in the price tag, the agency said in a release announcing approval from the State Department and notification of Congress of the sale.

“The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of on the of the closest allies in the INDOPACOM theater,” DSCA said.

“The ROK Navy intends to use the SM-2 Block IIIB to supplement it’s existing inventory. The proposed sale will provide a defensive capability while enhancing interoperability with U.S. and other allied forces,” the agency added.

In 2017, South Korea announced its intention to equip itself with more missiles to counter any threat from North Korea.

The South’s then-newly elected President Moon Jae-in called for the relaxation of limits on its missile arsenal after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile 2,200 miles into space. Its warhead landed near the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and analysts quickly calculated that the demonstrated range of that test shot could reach Los Angeles and perhaps as far as Chicago or New York.

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