South Korea has was rewarded a contract by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to supply medium-range surface-to-air missiles for $3.5 billion, the Asian nation’s largest arms export in history.
The agreement was signed during the South Korean President Moon Jae-init’s two-day visit to the Gulf country this week to strengthen defense ties and cooperation in the hydrogen sector.
Under the contract, Hanwha Defense will build carrier erector launchers for the weapons, while Hanwha Systems will develop its phased array multifunction 3D radar. Another defense company, LIG Nex1, will deliver the complete system – the Cheongung II – to the United Arab Emirates Air Force.
“We will complete the contract to enhance the military prowess of the United Arab Emirates,” the CEO of Hanwha Defense said. Son Jae-il Recount UPI News Korea. “At the same time, we will help South Korea expand its defense exports.”
A Yonsei University military analyst told the outlet that the deal was part of the UAE’s efforts to modernize its military and that the Gulf nation is “proactively cooperating” with South Korea.
He added that defense exports to the Middle Eastern country are expected to continue.
The Cheongung II missile
Considered the core element of South Korea’s missile defense program, the Cheongung II the medium-range surface-to-air missile features “hit-to-kill” technology designed to intercept incoming missiles at altitudes below 40 kilometers (24.8 miles).
The missile has a detection range of 100 kilometers (160 miles) and features anti-electronic jamming technology.
The system is said to have unparalleled operability and accuracy, with “omnidirectional coverage achieved through the use of vertical launch”.
Additionally, the Cheongung II is equipped with high-performance side-thrust motors and lethality enhancers, increasing the weapon’s destructive power against hard-to-intercept targets such as ballistic missiles.
The missile system was first supplied to the South Korean military in 2020. The administration of the defense acquisition program revealed that the United Arab Emirates was the first foreign country to receive the system.
Besides missile defense systems, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on defense technologies, including the joint development of weapon systems.
The two governments have also agreed to develop energy links, from traditional oil to nuclear and hydrogen. Moon said the two countries could lead the hydrogen economy by tapping into the potential of the UAE’s green hydrogen and blue hydrogen market.
South Korea has also received support from the United Arab Emirates for its campaign to hold an arms exhibition in the southeastern city of Busan in 2030.