Aerial Warfare

South Korea to Mass-produce TAipers Air-launched Anti-tank Guided Missiles

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South Korea to Mass-produce TAipers Air-launched Anti-tank Guided Missiles

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TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-to-ground Guided Missile
TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-to-ground Guided Missile

South Korea is set to embark on mass production of its domestically developed TAipers (Tank Snipers or Cheongeom) air-launched anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). The ambitious program, scheduled to run from 2024 to 2031 with a budget of KRW 724.8 billion (USD 550.5 million), reflects the nation’s commitment to enhancing its military prowess. The TAipers, a lightweight, air-launched, lock-on-before-launch (LOBL) ATGM, is a testament to South Korea’s technological prowess. The missile’s dual-mode seeker employs both visible light and infrared images, guided by a fiber-optic datalink, showcasing advanced guidance capabilities. Comprising four major sub-sections – seeker, propulsion, control mechanism, and battery – the missile’s smokeless solid-propellant rocket motor enables a cruise speed of approximately 200 m/s, reaching a maximum strike range of 8 km.

TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-to-ground Guided Missile
TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-launched Air-to-ground Guided Missile. (Photo by DAPA)

Hanwha, the developer behind the TAipers, boasts that the missile can penetrate up to 1,000 mm of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA). The TAipers is poised to become a critical component in the armament of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) and MUH-1 Marineon helicopters of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps (RoKMC) starting in 2024. the TAipers boasts an impressive localization rate of more than 96 percent in terms of cost, signaling a significant stride towards self-reliance in defense capabilities. This high localization rate suggests the potential for the development of various derivatives for ground platforms, marking a crucial milestone for South Korea’s defense industry.

TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-to-ground Guided Missile
TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-launched Air-to-ground Guided Missile. (Photo by DAPA)

In a strategic move, Hanwha has developed a variant of the TAipers capable of being launched from land vehicles. However, the decision to limit mass production to rotary-wing platforms underscores a targeted approach to meeting specific operational requirements. The TAipers’ wire-guided capability through an optical cable offers versatility in deployment, with the option for automatic guidance to fire and forget if necessary. The adoption of a tandem warhead further enhances its capabilities, allowing it to effectively penetrate explosive reactive armor. With a weight of 35 kg, a length of 1.7 m, and a diameter of 150 mm, the TAipers showcases a balance between compact design and formidable firepower.

TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-to-ground Guided Missile
TAipers (Cheongeom) Air-launched Air-to-ground Guided Missile. (Photo by DAPA)

Notably, the localization of air-to-ground guided missiles is intricately linked to the broader development of South Korea’s light-armed helicopters. The KAI LAH, a compact twin-engine combat helicopter, is set to replace the aging fleet of light helicopters. Armed with a single chin-mounted 20mm three-barreled turret gun, stub wings for carrying non-guided rockets, and air-to-ground anti-tank missiles, the LAH represents South Korea’s foray into becoming the seventh country globally to produce attack helicopters. The TAipers missile, developed by Hanwha in collaboration with the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), not only solidifies South Korea’s position in the defense technology arena but also positions the nation as a key player in the global defense industry. As the TAipers enters mass production, South Korea takes a giant leap towards self-sufficiency in military capabilities, marking a significant chapter in its quest for a robust defense infrastructure.

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