South Korea Looks to Increase Capability of Ballistic Missile Warheads

I don’t think the North Koreans will be too impressed by this news considering they are developing nuclear warheads:

In this file photo provided by the Ministry of Defense on June 23, 2017, Hyunmoo-2, a new homegrown ballistic missile with a range of 800 kilometers, is test-fired from a mobile launch pad at a test site of the Agency for Defense Development in Anheung, 200 kilometers southwest of Seoul, the same day with President Moon Jae-in on hand. (Yonhap)

The South Korean government is pushing to revise the missile guidelines developed with the United States to double the maximum weight of warheads on Seoul’s ballistic missiles from the current 500 kilograms to counter growing threats from the North, sources said Monday.

The Seoul government proposed the revision in line with the Seoul-Washington summit last month, and is known to be planning to begin talks regarding the issue during the annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and the Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) later this year, they said.

In 2012, the allies revised the ballistic missile guidelines, allowing Seoul to extend the maximum allowable missile range to 800 kilometers from the previous limit of 300 km, against North’s advancing nuclear and ballistic missile capacities. Under the deal, Seoul can load up to 500 kg of warheads on missiles with the range of 800 km.

“Our military is reviewing various measures to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations,” a government official said, declining to comment on the possible revision.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Defense Ministry Discloses How It Followed Environmental Laws to Deploy THAAD System

This was actually clever what the Korean Defense Ministry did to comply with ROK environmental laws that would have delayed the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system for up to year:

THAAD site on former South Korean golf course outside of Seongju.

A fact-finding mission into the deployment of a U.S. antimissile system in Korea in April raised a new suspicion that the Ministry of National Defense tried to sidestep an environmental study required by the law, the Blue House said Monday.

Following the discovery, President Moon Jae-in ordered a proper environmental study, effectively stalling the deployment schedule to be completed by the end of this year.

The probe also found that Lt. Gen. Wee Seung-ho, deputy defense minister of policy, has ordered his team to delete crucial pieces of information from a report to Moon’s security team, Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said in a press briefing.

Moon ordered last week an investigation into the ministry’s failure to fully brief his team about the U.S. military’s delivery of four additional launchers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system.

The probe identified Wee as responsible for the omission and revealed that the ministry tried to avoid the environmental impact study. The conclusion was reported to Moon at the senior secretariat meeting on Monday.

Despite protests by Beijing and Moscow, Seoul and Washington agreed on the deployment of a Thaad battery in July 2016.

Key components of a Thaad battery, including a radar system and two missile launchers, were installed on a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang, on April 26 – less than two weeks before the May 9 election that brought Moon to power.

A Thaad battery typically consists of six launchers, 48 interceptors, a fire control and communication unit and radar. The military authorities of Korea and the United States planned to complete the deployment before the end of this year.

According to Yoon, the ministry created a plan on Nov. 25, 2016 that it will offer the Seongju site to the U.S. military in two separate transfers. Of the 700,000 square-meter (173-acre) site, a 328,779 square-meter piece was transferred in the first phase and another piece, about 370,000 square meters, was planned to be offered later in the second phase.

“By designating the first phase site to be smaller than 330,000 square meters, the ministry planned that only a summary environmental impact study was needed,” Yoon said. The law requires a full-scale environmental study when the site is larger than 330,000 square meters.

Yoon then said the first phase site is an odd-looking inverse U-shaped piece of land. “The shape was abnormally designed in order to exclude the land that is supposed to be inside the U shape,” he said.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but General Wee claims that he ordered the deletion in the report about the four launchers because the US military asked him to.  My guess would be that the US military wanted to keep the location of the launchers secret for operational security reasons.  We will see how this plays out, but my assessment is that the Moon administration will use this to maximum political advantage to appease his base without actually changing the deployment decision.

ROK Naval Lieutenant Commits Suicide After Claiming Superior Officer Rape Her

The ROK Naval Captain is claiming that the sex was consensual, but regardless the Captain shouldn’t be sleeping with a junior officer in the first place.  However, I am not sure if the ROK military has any guidelines against such behavior; if not it should:

A female Navy lieutenant, under the purview of the Navy’s headquarters at the Gyeryongdae compound, was found dead in her home on 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.

While the naval military police view the incident as a suicide, they arrested a male navy captain under allegations of having sexually assaulted the lieutenant the night before.

Her colleagues attempted to reach her by phone after noting her absence in the workplace.

When they went to her home and found she had apparently hanged herself, they contacted military police.

Near her body was a memo saying, “I guess I’m leaving empty-handed like this,” and “By tomorrow, I won’t be a person of this world.”

“There are no signs of forced entry,” military police said.

“She told me she was raped by a superior,” a friend told her family, who then told police.

The military police arrested a naval captain who was at the domicile.

According to naval military police, the two officers drank into the night at a departmental dinner. Police suspect the captain raped her after she lost consciousness.

“I can’t remember clearly cause I was drunk,” he said, adding that while they had sex, he maintains it was consensual.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Troops Fire Shots at Possible Drone Flying Over the DMZ

It looks like the North Koreans have flown another drone over the DMZ:

South Korean troops fired warning shots at an “unidentified object” flying across the heavily fortified border from North Korea Tuesday afternoon, the South’s military announced.

The military detected the object traversing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) southward in the Chorwon area in the eastern province of Gangwon at around 4 p.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It added the South’s military fired warning shots along with dispatching a warning broadcast.

A defense source said the military fired more than 90 K-3 machine gun rounds, adding it may have been a drone.

The South’s military is analyzing the object and its route and has beefed up its air defense posture, said the JCS.  [Yonhap]

It looks like the ROK military needs to get themselves fielded with these systems to counter the drones North Korea is increasingly using.

President Moon Warns Defense Ministry that Clashes Along Korean DMZ Are A “High Possibility”

I think President Moon is telling these ROK military leaders something they already know all to well:

South Korean President Moon Jae-In warned Wednesday there was a “high possibility” of military clashes along the border with North Korea as tensions mount over Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions.

Moon, who was sworn in last week, warned that the North’s nuclear and rocket programs were “advancing rapidly”, days after Pyongyang launched what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet.

“I will never tolerate the North’s provocations and nuclear threats,” he said on a visit to the defence ministry, urging the South’s military to adopt a “watertight defence posture”.

“We are living in the reality where there is a high possibility of military clashes” along the disputed sea border off the Koreas’ west coast or along the heavily-fortified land frontier that divides them, he said.  [Korea Herald]

You can read more at the link.

South Korea Announces It Will Buy Two More Israeli Green Pine Radars

South Korea continues to beef up its missile defense capabilities in an effort to keep pace with the North Korean ballistic missile threat:

The headquarters of South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA) in a photo provided by Yonhap News TV. (Yonhap)

South Korea said Tuesday it has decided to purchase two advanced early warning radars on incoming ballistic missiles as North Korea’s threats have grown.

The plan was approved at a regular meeting on arms procurement projects presided over by Defense Minister Han Min-koo, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA).

It plans to import the radars in the project starting within this year.

The South Korean military has two Israel-made Green Pine land-based radars in operation. It is seeking to acquire radars with the maximum range of more than 800 kilometers to better detect ballistic missiles fired by the North.

Initially, the defense authorities earmarked budget for the purchase of one more radar. But they have revised a mid-term defense plan to buy two more.

South Korea is in the process of establishing the so-called Korea Air and Missile Defense system.  [Yonhap]

South Korea Tests New Missile That Can Strike All of North Korea

The South Koreans are signaling back to the Kim regime that they to have advanced missiles that can target all of North Korea:

South Korea has successfully test-launched a new 800-kilometer missile that can reach anywhere in North Korea, defense sources said Thursday.

It could send another strong warning message to North Korea which is continuing its nuclear and missile development prohibited by the international community, they said.

“There was a test firing recently of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of 800km at the Anheung test site of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) under the wing of the Defense Ministry,” an informed source said. “It’s assessed that it was successful.”

Defense Minister Han Min-koo inspected the test, in which the missile met the key requirements of normal blast, flight and the accuracy of hitting a target, added the source.  [Yonhap]

Picture of the Day: ROK Military Testing Their Own Version of the HMMWV

S. Korean-version Humvee

This is a South Korean-made high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, which has been undergoing tests in South Korean military units since January. The South Korean version of the U.S. heavy vehicle manufacturer AM General’s Humvee is scheduled to be mass-produced from the latter half of this year. (Photo courtesy of Defense Acquisition Program Administration) (Yonhap)

South Korean College Students Struggle to Balance Mandatory Military Service with College

Here is an article that explains a challenge that all male Korean college students have to deal with, when to do your mandatory service:

A batch of new military recruits salute their family members on Jan. 16 in Incheon before entering training camp. [YONHAP]

Mr. Oh, a 24-year-old college student, wanted to serve his mandatory military service sometime between January and March of 2013. Aware that he would have to return to school upon his completion of duty, he wanted to hit the books straight away, making no time for staying idle.

In Korea’s current draft system, Oh needed to be wise about which month he starts and ends his service. In the best-case scenario, he could return to school right after getting discharged from the military. In the worst-case scenario, he would have to wait for an entire semester.

In the end, it didn’t work out for Oh. The competition was high. Way too many men had the same thoughts as him and the lucky-draw didn’t play out to his advantage.

Oh eventually began in June 2013, one of the least-expected – and most unpopular – month of the entire year.

He was discharged in March 2015, after the spring semester began.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but this is just another example of why I have a lot of respect for the Koreans that complete their mandatory military service.