South Korea has allegedly successfully tested its L-SAM anti-missile defense system

According to reports from South Korean news sources, the country has successfully tested its latest air defense systems in response to recent North Korean aggression.
Christopher McFadden
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor

Missile Defense Agency 

According to military officials, South Korea has successfully tested its cutting-edge Long-range Surface-to-Air Missile (L-SAM) missile interception system. A crucial component of the country's envisioned layered missile defense shield known as the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) intended to counter advancing threats from North Korea.

The L-SAM is a local air defense system currently being developed by the government-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) with anti-ballistic missile (ABM) capabilities. The news of the most recent test comes just under three weeks after North Korea blasted the most missiles ever fired in a single day, an unprecedented volley of 23 missiles.

The L-SAM is a cutting-edge indigenous weapon system currently being developed to defend against long-range/high-altitude aerial vehicles while combining with Cheongung II to provide multi-layered missile defense. The latter weapon, a Medium-range Surface-to-Air Missile (M-SAM), is already in use and is designed to eliminate threats posed by lower-tier ballistic missiles.

A kill vehicle with a divert and attitude control system (DACS) is utilized by the anti-ballistic missile defense system to provide movement during the terminal phase of the engagement. The kill vehicle interceptors are believed to have a range of about 90 miles (145 km) and are designed to eliminate high-speed ballistic targets at great heights, up to between 25 miles (40 km) and 60 miles (97 km).

The KAMD is the name given to South Korea's layered air defense system, which includes the L-SAM and M-SAM. South Korea can also use other ABM-capable systems, such as the Patriot PAC-3 provided by the United States.

Thanks to two different missile types—one for taking out airplanes and other air-breathing threats and another for destroying ballistic missiles—the L-SAM can take on various aerial threats.

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South Korea's testing was a roaring success, allegedly

According to unnamed military officials quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency, the L-SAM successfully intercepted a target. However, no information was released regarding the test's timing, location, or the type of target that was obliterated.

The same source also claims that "target missiles," note the plural, were struck, indicating that additional tests were conducted or possibly a situation in which multiple targets were engaged.

Similar to the United States Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the L-SAM, or Long-range Surface-to-Air Missile, is designed to fire down ballistic missiles at an altitude of 50 to 60 kilometers.

The government-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) will finish the system's development by 2024, with mass production set to begin in 2026 and deployment as early as 2027.

According to the authorities, the agency's most recent L-SAM test of hitting target missiles followed successful flight testing in early February.

The action was taken as the Kim Jong-un dictatorship escalated its missile and nuclear threats, underlined by its shooting a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile into the East Sea last Friday.