Just in time for Halloween, South Korea’s army said it’s looking to build a new monster missile capable of wiping out major North Korean political and military installations in the event of an all-out war between the belligerent neighbors.
South Korea first announced the idea after President Donald Trump pledged last month to remove restrictions on the U.S. ally’s missile payload, paving the way for bigger and stronger weapons at a time when tensions on the Korean Peninsula have escalated significantly. In a report released Thursday, the South Korean army said the Hyunmoo IV surface-to-surface missile, dubbed “Frankenmissile” by South Korean media, would be used in combination with other surface-to-surface missiles and Hyunmoo-class intermediate-range missiles to inflict an “unbearable cost” to its nuclear-armed northern rival.
“We would use those three types of missiles as the first salvo of the missile strike and concentrate them during the initial phase of war to destroy North Korea’s long-range artillery units and missiles located in ballistic missile operating area,” the army said in a report to lawmakers, according to The Korea Herald.
U.S. and South Korean troops utilizing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and South Korea’s Hyunmoo II, fire missiles into the waters of the East Sea, off South Korea, July 5, 2017. South Korea has already developed the Hyunmoo III, but the Hyunmoo IV can only be made possible by President Donald Trump’s pledge to remove restrictions on South Korean ballistic missile payload. 8th United States Army/Handout via Reuters
The report said the three-tier attack plan would first feature KTSMM-1 “artillery killer” surface-to-surface missiles to “strike the enemy’s tunnels with the 170-mm self-propelled howitzers and 240-mm multiple-rocket launch systems,” as well as KTSMM-2 strikes against North Korea’s SCUD missile facilities and 300-mm rocket launchers, according to South Korea’s official Yonhap News Agency.
Next, the army would unleash Hyunmoo II ballistic missiles and Hyunmoo III cruise missiles to annihilate North Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal. In order to realize the third phase of the plan, a Hyunmoo IV attack designed to directly devastate North Korea’s political leadership, the U.S. would have to officially remove the 800-kilometer range and 500-kilogram payload limit on South Korean ballistic missiles as dictated by a 2012 agreement.
Washington and Seoul have reportedly reached a de facto agreement to double this limit as Trump ups the pressure on his North Korea rival, Kim Jong Un. Kim has defied U.N. sanctions and overseen vast advancements in his country’s military capabilities since taking over in 2011, making the reclusive, militarized state a difficult target for even more advanced forces. Trump has responded expanding the U.S.’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific and conducting military exercises with allies South Korea and Japan.
Artillery fires during North Korea’s “largest-ever” artillery drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) on April 25, 2017. In addition to its growing nuclear arsenal, North Korea’s powerful ballistic missile and tank force make it a formidable opponent. Korean Central News Agency/Handout via Reuters
In the latest regional exercises, the U.S. deployed its largest warship in Asia, Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan, among other ships to train with the South Korean navy Thursday. North Korea, which claims the right to develop nuclear weapons as a means of deterring a U.S. invasion, has strongly condemned the drills. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published Friday an article criticizing alleged U.S. plans to strike North Korea, saying that such hostilities meant “the outbreak of a nuclear war can never be averted.”
“In case the present situation of the Korean Peninsula goes to the worst phase, the U.S. is entirely to blame for it,” the article stated.