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South Korea says seeks Patriot missiles upgrade deal by December

Published on Mar 12, 2014 6:40 PM

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea will sign a deal to upgrade its Patriot missile system by the end of this year, the defence procurement agency said on Wednesday, with the contract valued at around 1.5 trillion won (S$1.8 billion).

The upgrade, which is set to benefit US defence firms Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, is part of South Korea's plan to increase its anti-ballistic capabilities against unpredictable North Korea, which has carried out two long-range missile tests and a nuclear weapons test in the past two years.

"Once the improvement in Patriot capabilities is completed, it will be possible to directly hit the warhead of a ballistic missile to prevent damage to the ground," Mr Baek Youn Hyeong, a spokesman for the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA), told reporters.

South Korea wants to upgrade its Patriot missile launch system to PAC-3 Configuration 3 as well as buy PAC-3 missiles, with delivery expected to start in 2016, another DAPA official told Reuters. He declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

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