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Successful fourth firing test of L-SAM, designed for intercepting North Korean ballistic missiles

The domestically developed system successfully struck the target at the intended altitude

Expanded to cover the upper tier of the terminal phase in the missile defense system

Development is set to conclude next year, paving the way for mass production in 2025.

There is a call for an earlier initiation of the M-SAM Block-III development


Successful fourth firing test of L-SAM, designed f

Successful interception of target missile at the intended altitude by L-SAM. Video footage courtesy of ADD


The latest test of the domestically developed long-range surface-to-air guided weapon system (L-SAM) by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) achieved another successful antiballistic missile interception. Following the initial success of the test in November, this fourth test also proved successful, paving the way for the implementation of the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system.


ADD conducted an anti-ballistic missile test of the L-SAM at the Anheung Proving Ground in Taean-gun, Chungnam, on May 30. Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, along with officials from the Defense Ministry, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Acquisition Program Administration, attended the test. Reporters from the MND were also present, marking the first time the L-SAM ballistic missile interception test scene was disclosed to the press.


The test aimed to showcase the L-SAM's ability to intercept a target missile at a predetermined engagement location. The L-SAM performed successfully by accurately hitting and destroying the target missile, which was flying at the intended altitude.


Minister Lee highlighted that the L-SAM is a homegrown missile defense system built on domestic technology, following the successful development of the Cheongung-II medium-range surface-to-air (M-SAM) system. As the cornerstone of Korea's multilayered missile defense system, the L-SAM plays a vital role in ensuring national security.


He further emphasized, “The development of L-SAM holds immense significance as it extends our military's missile defense capability to higher altitudes. By reaching the upper tier of the terminal phase, L-SAM effectively counters North Korea's advanced missile threats and significantly strengthens the missile defense capabilities of the ROK/US Alliance.”


He addressed the ADD officials, stating, “We should not become complacent with the progress of L-SAM development. It is crucial to initiate the development of L-SAM II and M-SAM Block-III promptly, aiming to swiftly establish a comprehensive missile defense system that can effectively counter the missile threats originating from North Korea.”


The Defense Ministry has been committed to securing ROK 3K Defense capabilities, which comprise the Kill Chain, the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) systems, and establishing the KAMD in order to effectively counter the growing nuclear and missile threats posed by North Korea.


L-SAM, poised to play a pivotal role within the KAMD, exhibits the capability to intercept enemy ballistic missiles at greater altitudes than the currently deployed medium-range surface-to-air guided missile Cheongung-II (M-SAM Block-II). As outlined in the force integration plan, L-SAM is slated for operational deployment in the late 2020s.


Since 2021, ADD has conducted initial flight tests on guided missiles, effectively showcasing their flight stability, propulsion system separation, and the operational functionality of the seeker. Subsequently, practical target missile tests were initiated last year, with several additional tests conducted after the initial successful guided missile interception test in November.


After this test, ADD has successfully confirmed the technology readiness level (TRL) of the guided missile's interception capability. Following the assessment of the test results, ADD plans to finalize the development next year and commence production in 2025.


The Defense Ministry expressed that the successful interception test has enhanced the prospects of L-SAM development, emphasizing the urgency to swiftly establish the ROK 3K Defense capability to effectively counter the nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

By Hyun-woo, Seo <>

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