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L-SAM interceptor achieves precise hit on target following successful stage separation

The upper-tier defense system functions at an altitude ranging from 50 to 60 kilometers

Key element of the KAMD, one of the axes of the ROK 3K Defense

Flight stability and precise guidance capabilities have been verified


The long-range Surface-to-Air Missile (L-SAM) is a domestically developed weapon system designed to intercept enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles at long distances and high altitudes. In the context of ROK 3K Defense, which includes the Kill Chain, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR), the L-SAM serves as a crucial component for building the KAMD. The basic strategy for the L-SAM was established in 2014, and the project is currently in the final stage of system development. On May 30, an anti-ballistic interception test of the L-SAM was successfully conducted at the Anheung Proving Ground of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD).

L-SAM interceptor achieves precise hit on target f


P1 Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup (center, front row) joins the MND reporters in expressing approval for the successful L-SAM interception test.


“No problems with communications network. Test preparation ready.”


“Starting countdown. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, fire!”


Following reports of a functional communications network from all sections, the L-SAM interception test commenced. A target missile was launched from an uninhabited island along the southern coast of the West Sea and was successfully detected and tracked by the multi-function radar. The L-SAM swiftly ascended into the sky over the central region of the West Sea.


The distance between the firing location of the L-SAM and the target missile was approximately 200 km. To ensure safety in the expansive test area, a total of 30 naval and maritime police ships, along with government vessels, were deployed to monitor and control ship activities in the waters where the test took place.


The live broadcast of the guided missile's flight to the target was displayed on monitors at the proving ground in infrared images. The propulsion system underwent a successful separation of its first and second stages, while the kill vehicle (KV) in the third stage was activated. Utilizing its detection and guidance functions, the KV was designed to accurately strike the target. A moment of anticipation filled the air as the interceptor successfully destroyed the target, prompting applause and cheers from the observers in response.


The objective of the interception test was to validate the operational capability of the L-SAM ground equipment and guided missile in intercepting simulated enemy ballistic missiles. The test successfully verified the overall system functions, including target detection and tracking by the L-SAM multifunctional radar, as well as the flight stability and precise guidance of the L-SAM utilizing a seeker. This marked the fourth test following the initial successful ballistic missile interception test conducted in November last year. The target missile's propulsion system was precisely targeted and neutralized at the intended altitude.


ADD President Park Jong Seung, present at the test site, commented, “Until now, we have conducted a series of tests to verify the fundamental functions and anti-ballistic missile interception capabilities of the guided missile, as well as the incremental evaluation of L-SAM's functionalities. Today's test aimed to comprehensively demonstrate the core capabilities of L-SAM.”


L-SAM is a defense system designed to protect the upper tier during the terminal phase of missile attacks. It intercepts enemy missiles as they descend from their peak altitude, at an altitude range of 5060 kilometers. In cases where L-SAM is unable to intercept the enemy missiles, lower tier defense systems such as the Patriot (PAC-2/PAC-3) and the indigenous medium-range surface-to-air guided weapon system (M-SAM) Cheongung-take over the interception at an altitude of 40 kilometers. This multilayered defense system provides comprehensive protection against incoming threats.


On that day, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup stated to the reporters, “The L-SAM plays a crucial role in strengthening the foundation of the KAMD system.” The establishment of KAMD will enhance the capability to defend against North Korean missiles using a multi-layered approach, consisting of both upper and lower tier defenses.


In 2013, preliminary research for the L-SAM commenced, followed by the formulation of a basic project strategy in 2014. From 2015 to 2019, exploratory development activities were carried out, and since then, system development has been underway. The completion of system development is scheduled for next year, paving the way for production to commence in 2025 and subsequent deployment to the military in the late 2020s.

By Hyun-woo, Seo <>

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