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South Korea Signs Off on 4 New Weapons Programs Worth $4.6B

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South Korea is looking to invest around $4.6 billion to build its defense capabilities by acquiring new weapons systems through the late 2030s.

On Friday, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration approved defense spending plans for new SM-3 missiles and four frigates and the local development of an air-to-air missile.

While DAPA said the two missile projects would require feasibility studies and undergo review before they can move forward Seoul, nonetheless, has allocated $581 million for SM-3 acquisition and another $1.1 billion to produce the long-range missiles.

South Korea will buy the SM-3s through the United States’ Foreign Military Sales program and install the ballistic missiles on Aegis warships, Breaking Defense reported. The procurement project is expected to run from 2025 to 2030, the publication added.

Meanwhile, DAPA noted that the domestic missile program will build air-to-air missiles for the KF-21, a fighter Korea Aerospace Industries is developing and could start delivering in the second half of 2026. It said the missile development effort will be carried out from 2025 through 2038.

The approved defense investment plan also involves the purchase of Ulsan-class light frigates for $2.3 billion and pursuit of a close-in weapon system project to shield South Korean vessels from aircraft, missile and drone threats.

The latter program, which would cost around $647 million, is targeted for completion in 2036.

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