South Korea’s DAPA to Develop Naval L-SAM Program for KDDX Destroyer

The missile will be fielded on the KDDX, the next-generation destroyer class of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) that will be fitted with domestically designed active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.

The L-SAM program, which is expected to cost ₩690 billion or around $563 million USD, aims to create an anti-air missile with capabilities similar to the American SM-2 that can shoot down both enemy aircraft and intercept incoming missiles. Development is expected to start next year and be completed by 2036. 

“This program will not only strengthen our defensive capabilities against the threat posed by North Korea, but also contribute to the development of the domestic defense industry, creating jobs and allowing us to gain expertise in producing guided missiles,” 


President Moon Jae-in also expressed similar sentiments about the Ship-to-air Guided Missile-II program when he received his last “project for improvement of defense capability” briefing as President on March 21. “I think the fact that most of the programs I was briefed on are domestic makes them very meaningful. The incoming government will have to continue efforts to strengthen our military capabilities, through such actions as allocating funds to these projects.” 

According to the Asia Business Daily, a local media outlet, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said in early 2021 that it could develop domestic versions of the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system and SM-3 by 2029 and 2036 respectively if they utilized L-SAM missile technology from Lig Nex1. Given this, it seems likely that the ADD and LIG Nex1 will cooperate on developing the Ship-to-air Guided Missile-II.

Other initiatives green-lighted by the 142nd meeting of the Defense Acquisition Program Promotion Committee include a program to develop an air-to-ground missile for the KF-21 and changes to the KM-SAM upgrade program.

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