Air Defense: Shields Up In South Korea


June 10, 2009: South Korea is buying 84 of the Standard 2 (SM-2 Block IV) anti-missile missiles. This version is effective against ballistic missile warheads that are about to hit their target. In one test, a SM-2 Block IV missile destroyed a warhead that was only 19 kilometers up. The more specialized (and, at $3 million, twice as expensive) SM-3 missile can destroy a warhead that is more than 200 kilometers up. But the SM-3 is only good for anti-missile work, while the SM-2 Block IV can be used against both ballistic missiles and aircraft. South Korea has already purchased the anti-aircraft version (Block IIIB) of the SM-2 for their KDX III class Aegis destroyers.

Last December, South Korea put into service the its first (of three) Aegis equipped destroyers; "Sejong The Great." This is a KDX-III (Korean Destroyer Experimental) class guided missile ship. It was preceded by the 3,900 ton KDX-I in 1998, and the 5,500 ton KDX-II in 2002. The 9,900 ton KDX-IIIs are approximately the same size as the U.S. Navy's Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer. Actually, the KDX III is a little larger than the Burkes, and have 128 VLS cells for missiles, compared to 96 on the Burkes. The KDX can also carry two helicopters.

The KDX-III is the first Korean ship large enough to carry the AEGIS system, and is now getting the anti-missile upgrade (which some Japanese Aegis ships have). Built in South Korea, the KDX IIIs cost about $900 million each. All three KDX IIIs should be in service by 2012.



Article Archive

Air Defense: Current 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999



Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Because of falling ad revenues and the owners of the site wanting you to have a good experience, this poor pet bird (Drake) may end up as the turkey for the publisher’s Thanksgiving meal.

What can you do to help save the bird? There are three possibilities:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..

Drake appreciates any help you can give him.

Subscribe   Contribute   Close