South Korean navy tests ship-to-air missile in its territory for first time
Stars and Stripes December 4, 2023
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Seoul test-fired a U.S.-built ship-to-air missile in South Korean waters for the first time on Friday.
The destroyer ROKS Gang Gam-chan fired the Standard Missile-2 in the East Sea, or Sea of Japan, and hit an inbound unmanned aerial vehicle, South Korea’s navy said in a news release Sunday.
The SM-2 was tracked from Samcheok Marine Research Center on Gangwon Province’s eastern coast. The 65-acre facility opened in 2021 and provides a host of analytical services, including underwater noise and infrared testing.
Testing the missile in South Korean waters was “very meaningful,” the center’s director, Son Kwon, said in a video released by the navy Sunday.
South Korea previously tested its SM-2s at the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands in Hawaii, due to the lack of testing services before the Samcheok center opened.
The Raytheon-built SM-2 is designed to pursue aircraft and anti-ship missiles for up to 104 miles, according to the company’s website. It’s also used by the U.S., Australian and Japanese navies.
The State Department approved the sale of up to 94 SM-2s to South Korea for $314 million in 2019, according to Defense Security Cooperation Agency records.
The test comes on the heels of an uptick in maritime training around the Korean Peninsula this year.
On Nov. 26, the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group drilled in the waters southeast of Jeju Island alongside the South Korean and Japanese destroyers.
The one-day drill was meant to strengthen the allies’ maritime capabilities amid North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, according to the South’s navy.