South Korean missile range extended to 800 kilometers

While the weight of South Korea’s missile payload is expected to remain the same at 500 kg, Seoul is now allowed to lob them bad boys as far as 800 km –up from the old limit of 300 km.

Google Earth’s cool ruler tool shows that regardless of where they are fired from on the peninsula, Beijing is out of range, but installations on the southernmost part of the peninsula put Shanghai in play should the Chinese get pissy over Ieodo. And its feasible, with a good wind, that downtown Tokyo is reachable if fired upon from Ulleungdo –located in the middle of the body of water between Korea and Japan.

The Donga Ilbo, which showed deft erudition in the opening line of an op-ed piece earlier this month (“A missile is a flying object armed with a warhead and designed to strike a target”), made a fair point that, in regard to Norko missile ranges, there is some serious inequity:

Pyongyang has deployed at military bases the Musudan-ho, a ballistic missile with a maximum range of 3,000 kilometers, and test-fired the Taepodong 2 missile, which has a range of 6,700 kilometers and can carry a warhead weighing 650 to 1,000 kilograms. To balance the seriously imbalanced missile capacities between both Koreas, the range of South Korean missiles should be increased to at least 800 kilometers.

And so it has.

  • mickster

    I could be the first. Yey!
    Nothing more. Put a lancher on Dokdo, and Tokyo will be well within the range.

  • mickster

    Realistically, however, the only target would be in your Northern brother. No need to shoot Japan and it would be a suicide to shoot China.

  • TheKorean2

    Still not long enough, South Korea wants over 1,000km. 800km is still short for any ballistic missile.

  • Sperwer

    I guess the Korean2 wants to make sure Tokyo is well within range.

  • Q

    With China’s rise, Japan shifts to the right and possible withdrawal of the US military from Korea, as many M Holers wish, Korea should be better equipped with weapon that could fight back any neighbor nations.

  • enomoseki

    And then arm those missiles with nuke then the defense is complete.

  • TheKorean2

    Q, Japan can’t do anything without the US military. As for S.Korea, US should allow us to make missiles farther in range.

  • hacker

    I think TK2 and Q want the offensive ability to be the aggresssor in the name of defence. I remember an old.timer once telling me that the big reason the us was here in the 70’s and 80’s was to keep the South from going North rather than the other way around. Didn’t put much into it but the more I hear guys like these two the more I think he was right.

  • hacker

    TK2- why? For what purpose?

  • TheKorean2

    hacker, then why did US gave tactical nuclear warheads to S.Korea during those times? S.Korea is going to use these missiles for defense purpose only, and when was S.Korea an aggressor? US troops in S.Korea is going to pull out one way or another in future.

  • Q

    Japan’s nuclear ambition would not cease since being humiliated by nukes on the two cities in Japan. “Japan has 30 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and 1,200-1,400 kilograms of enriched uranium, enough to make 15,000 nuclear bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.” That would be a real threat to entire Asian nations.

  • hacker

    TK2 I don’t believe they were given to Korea but they were deployed and under US control. You can say that the missiles are to be used for defensive purposes and at 800km I would believe that, 600km even more so. So why do you need 1000km or more as you said in your previous post? As for when was Korea an aggressor, I never said they were but I did say that given the way you and Q talk it sounds like you want to exact your pound of flesh. Last item, one way or the other, so are American troops leaving of their choice or are you going to kick them out?

  • Q

    “Tokyo also has state-of-the-art rocket technology for their long-distance delivery and spy satellites.” Then why not S. Korea has long-range missiles?

  • TheKorean2

    Hacker, its going to be a time when US troops is going to go and US government has been talking to cut men and supplies in other places in world. I think around 2014, the USFK will be under South Korean command and by that time, our government wants us to have all the latest equipments to defend ourselves completely. Longer range missiles is needed because of a future Chinese threat. That simply.

  • Adams-awry

    You’re all Mike from Spaced. Talk some more “tactics.” You’re making me slobber my cereal.

  • mickster

    As for the Japan shifting to the right article, I did not know that PM Noda was regarded as hawkish. He is just being pushed around by people like Tokyo governor Ishihara. Also there are more than 400 comments in response to the article, but most of them were hard to understand due to poor English :-). I feel more comfortable here.

    As for Japan’s nuclear ambitions, it’s just dillusional. Nuclear armament would be suicidal for a small nation like Japan.

  • cm

    SK having the capability to lob 1000km+ distance doesn’t mean that SK will use them offensively. Having the capability alone, will discourage China from thinking SK is a pushover. It’s called deterrence – something that the US themselves successfully used during the Soviet era. It’s absolutely insane to not have the capability when China and NK are strengthening their capability. And I’m starting to get nervous of Japan too, with their sharp angle turn to the right, with increasing talks of getting rid of their restrictions on their military, as well as talking tougher at South Korea.

  • TheKorean2

    I agree cm, its a form of deterrence which both Japan AND China fear. A growing, powerful Korea that is.

  • brier

    Beijing is in missile range if you place them on Baegyeongdo out in the Yellow sea/West sea.

  • Arghaeri


    Mutually Assured Destruction

    always a great deterrent until someone presses a button by accident :-)

  • redwhitedude

    US attempts on arms control will fall apart because chinese are just building up their military with nobody to restrain them and NK engaging in brinksmanship which is the only card they have left. If the US wants to keep a lid on Korea they should try to restrain China and NK instead of just limiting Korea. The fact that this missile pact is getting revised shows that US attempts at arms control is cracking. Their approach is faulty and misguided. You can’t try to keep your ally on a leash while you don’t do much in reigning in the arms development of neighboring countries or you attempts at that prove futile.

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  • Q

    Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Amitage said expanding South Korea’s missile capability is “long overdue”:

  • adeptitus

    Do not assume that the listed 800 km range is the maximum range. Ballistic missile range is affected by payload weight, powered flight profile, speed, and other factors. Just because Google maps show that Beijing is beyond the 800 km range doesn’t mean that it’s beyond the BM’s range.

    However, I do not believe SK’s conventional ballistic missile force is of much deterrence value vs. the PRC. First, any BM fired from NK, SK, or Japan’s direction toward Beijing will have to pass ABM systems deployed near Dalian City and Shandong Province, then face the ABM systems deployed around Beijing. PRC’s ABM capability was recently demonstrated in 2010’s ABM test, in which an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle was launched to intercept a BM in mid-course flight.

    Second, the idea of using limited numbers of conventional BM’s as deterrence against a nuclear power armed with ICBM’s and SLBM’s is just silly. But if you must compare conventionally armed BM’s, look at the 1,600+ BM’s that the PRC has lined against TW.

    Third, smaller countries lack strategic depth and have few critical infrastructure/strategic sites. TW has ordered 300 HF-IIE missiles that can hit Shanghai, but at best TW can only paralyze a few coastal cities in China, versus PRC can paralyze TW by hitting the handful of power plants, dams/reservoirs, airports, etc.

    During the Cold War, PRC’s leadership in Beijing had already lived under constant threat from Soviet bombers based in Mongolia. Whatever contingent plans they had in place back then is probably still avail today.