The Defense Ministry plans to spend nearly 9 trillion won ($8.31 billion) from 2016-2020 to secure military capabilities to detect and destroy North Korea’s nuclear arms and ballistic missiles, amid escalating security threats from the regime.
It also plans to deploy unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to division-level units and establish a command and control system, which will provide field units with more visual information to help them enhance situational awareness.
The plans are part of the five-year mid-term defense plan that the ministry announced Monday.
“The mid-term plan is designed to strengthen our key assets to deter an all-out war and limited attack from North Korea,” said a senior ministry official, declining to be named. “With the plan, we will also enhance our self-defense capabilities.”
The ministry set aside 232.5 trillion won for building military capabilities for five years from 2016. Of the total, 115.4 trillion won will be spent on managing military forces, while 77.1 trillion won will be used for enhancing defense capabilities.
To establish the Kill Chain preemptive strike system, the ministry earmarked 6 trillion won, an increase of 300 billion won from the previous mid-term plan for 2015-19. With the budget increase, the ministry seeks to build a strike system that can cover all of North Korean targets.
For the Kill Chain system, the ministry plans to secure a multi-purpose satellite, high-altitude and mid-altitude reconnaissance drones, long-range air-to-surface guided bombs, mid-range air-to-surface precision bombs and other assets.
For the establishment of the Korea Air and Missile Defense system, the ministry plans to spend 2.7 trillion won, an increase of 400 billion won from the previous mid-term plan.
South Korea has been working on developing the KAMD, a low-tier multiple-interception system, rather than participating in the U.S.-led missile defense program, as China has accused the U.S. MD program of possibly targeting the country.
The KAMD consists of Patriot Advanced Capabili-3, M-SAM interceptors and an early warning radar that work together to shoot down short-range North Korean missiles.
For the construction of the Kill Chain and KAMD, the ministry increased the initial budget by 700 billion won, as it has determined that Pyongyang has secured considerable technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and put it on long-range ballistic missiles.
To strengthen preparedness against North Korean provocations and border defense, the ministry plans to spend 1.8 trillion won. It will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles to corps-level units and deploy upgraded radars and fire control systems.
The ministry also set aside 12.1 trillion won to secure aerial precision strike capabilities. Seoul plans to purchase F-35A fighter jets, aerial refueling tankers, precision-guided bombs and other assets that would ensure the country’s air capabilities.
To strengthen warships’ ability to detect, strike and intercept enemy targets, the ministry plans to spend 11.1 trillion won. A total of 5.4 trillion won has been set aside to purchase large-scale attack helicopters and armored vehicles for enhanced maneuverability. Another 17.9 trillion won has been earmarked for defense research and development.