South Korea moots KTSSM missile upgrade

KTSSM missile displayed at DX Korea 2022.

The South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND)’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 19 September that it will provision up to ₩290 billion over the next four years to develop an upgraded version of its Korean Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile (KTSSM).

DAPA noted that the funding for new KTSSM-II will be disbursed between September 2023 and December 2027, with development led by its Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and supported by local industry.

The vehicle-mounted KTSSM-II is understood to offer increased range and penetrative power over the current KTSSM guided munition.

DAPA also stated that the KTSSM-II will enhance the ability of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces to address the threat posed by North Korean artillery. The munition will also be used to target North Korean bunkers as well as other high-value targets.

DAPA aims to operationalise the KTSSM-II by the early 2030s, with total program cost to reach approximately ₩1.5 trillion. The agency earlier awarded a ₩320 billion deal to Hanwha Defense (now Hanwha Aerospace) in November 2020 to deliver around 200 KTSSMs.

Hanwha Aerospace is expected to be selected to build the KTSSM-II prototype, having developed the current KTSSM as well as participated in early development work of the new munition.

Meanwhile, DAPA earlier conducted a quality certification test of the KTSSM in May, which is currently in full-rate production and expects production to be completed around 2025. The test was jointly conducted and supervised by DAPA, the Defense Science Research Institute, the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality, Hanwha Aerospace, and the Republic of Korea Army.

It is understood that both KTSSM and the KTSSM-II munitions will constitute key pillars of South Korea’s comprehensive defence network, which will comprise the full spectrum of air defence, pre-emptive strike, and counterstrike capabilities.

Seoul announced in October 2022 that it would invest about ₩30 trillion through 2027 to support developmental and capacity building efforts in this regard.

by Jr Ng