All local-made Cheongung KM-SAM air defense missile systems delivered to South Korean Army

All the South Korea's first locally developed anti-aircraft guided missile systems Cheongung also called KM-SAM have been delivered to the South Korean army, the arms procurement agency said Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Nicknamed the "Korean Patriot," the system has been deployed since 2015, after the Agency of the Defense Development completed its development in 2011, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

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Cheongung KM-SAM anti-aircraft air defense missile system launcher unit.  (Picture source Army Recognition)

The Cheongung also named as Cheolmae-2 or KM-SAM is a South Korean medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system that was developed by the South Korean Agency for Defense Development (ADD) with technical support from Almaz-Antey and Fakel, based on technology from the Russian-made 9M96 missile used with the S-350E and S-400 air defense systems.

In April 2017, it was announced that all testing and evaluations of the KM-SAM have been completed, and it now awaits a final process to determine its suitability for intended combat missions. Seoul aims to deploy the indigenous Cheongung between 2018 and 2019.

In November 2017, South Korea had conducted the first live-fire exercise with its local-made Cheongung air defense missile system. Two missiles were fired to accurately strike a target at a distance of 40 km.

A complete battery consists of up to six 8-cell transporter erector launchers (TELs), a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) X-band multi-function phased array 3D radar (based on the one from the Russian S-400), and a fire command vehicle. The radar operates in the X-band and rotates at a rate of 40 rpm, covering up to 80 degrees in elevation. It can detect targets within 100 km and track up to 40 simultaneously. The Cheongung SAM system is intended to replace South Korea's MIM-23 HAWK SAM systems, which are locally referred to as Cheolmae.

The KM-SAM can intercept up to six targets simultaneously, and the missiles have anti-electronic warfare capabilities to keep functioning despite jamming. It can intercept targets up to an altitude of 15 km (49,000 ft) at a range of 40 km (25 mi).