Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) MIM-23 HAWK
Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) MIM-23 HAWK

Republic of Korea Air Force Finally Replaced MIM-23 HAWK with KM-SAM

The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) has finally-replaced its ageing MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air missile systems and replaced them with KM-SAM systems. The KM-SAM is the middle-tier of South Korea’s three-tier aerial and missile defense system. The KM-SAM which is also known as the Cheolmae-2 or Cheongung or M-SAM is a South Korean medium range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system that was developed by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) with technical support from Almaz-Antey and Fakel, based on technology from the 9M96 missile used on S-350E and S-400 missile systems.

Janes reported that ‘Unit 2970′, a battalion-level formation under the RoKAF’s 1st Air Defense Missile Brigade, retired the HAWK system, which had been in South Korean service since 1983, as well as the AN/TSQ-73 air-defence command-and-control system, which had been in service for 39 years.

KM-SAM Medium Range Surface-to-air Missile (SAM)
Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) KM-SAM Medium Range Surface-to-air Missile (SAM)

The Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK (“Homing All the Way Killer, commonly referred to as “Hawk”) is an American medium-range surface-to-air missile. It was designed to be a much more mobile counterpart to the MIM-14 Nike Hercules, trading off range and altitude capability for a much smaller size and weight. Its low-level performance was greatly improved over Nike through the adoption of new radars and a continuous wave semi-active radar homing guidance system. It entered service with the US Army in 1959. Approximately 40,000 of the MIM-23 HAWK missiles were produced.

Though KM-SAM was developed in Russia by the Almaz Design Bureau with assistance from Samsung Thales, LIG Nex1, and Doosan DST, localization and industrialization were done in South Korea enough to consider it an indigenous system. The KM-SAM can intercept targets up to an altitude of 15 km (49,000 ft) at a range of 40 km (25 mi). It is to replace upgraded MIM-23 Hawk batteries in South Korea and be made available for export. Almaz-Antey have created a distinctly Russian version called the Vityaz missile system.

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