Strategic Weapons: June 22, 2004


The Republic of Korea (ROK) has become one of a handful of nations to achieve the capability to cold launch missiles from land. The Agency of Defense Development (ADD) has announced that the agency independently developed a technology that fires a guided missile in mid-air after vertically ejecting it from a launching tube. While Russia is the only other country mentioned by the paper as possessing this technology, it is noted by one observer that the US has used this system as long ago as the 1980s to save blast damage to the launch site when the MX Missile was being tested at Vandenberg AFB. One rumor suggests that indeed Russia ever more nervous about North Korea and China -- helped the South Koreans in developing this technology.

The system reportedly uses a gas generator to boost the missile to a certain height. The missiles propellant then ignites and takes over from that point. It is noted that this technology not only saves wear-and-tear on the launch platform, but more importantly, decreases the exposure of the launching site to surveillance and thus increases missile and launch site survivability. ROK officials were quoted as saying that the technology is being applied to the medium range K-MSAM surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile currently under development.  K.B. Sherman




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