Naval News has previously reported that South Korea had an intention of purchasing Raytheon’s SM-6 (Standard Missile) missiles for its upcoming KDX-III Batch II (Jeongjo the Great-Class Destroyer) which will be delivered to ROK Navy in 2024. This decision has now become official as South Korean government decided to procure the first batch of SM-6, also known as RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM) through FMS (Foreign Military Sales) program for an estimated budget of 770 billion Korean won (around $586 million) from 2023 through 2031. According to the press release, this budget will be split into two parts, with the latter half to be used for the procurement of the second batch of SM-6 missiles in the future.
In a statement, DAPA emphasized that procurement of SM-6 missiles will “greatly improve the BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) and AAW (Anti-Air Warfare) capabilities of AEGIS-equipped KDX-III Batch II destroyers.”
Another notable agenda discussed in the meeting was the formal approval of developing “Ship-to-Air Guided Missile II”, or alternatively known as “Naval L-SAM” (dubbed as 함대공유도탄-II in Korean), whose aim is to develop South Korean equivalent of American SM-2 (RIM-66) missiles. In the past, ROK Navy had been heavily criticized for not having enough capabilities for fleet area air defense and ship self-defense despite continuous threats from its adversaries, most notably North Korea and China. Thus, these missiles are believed to provide current fleet of ROK Navy destroyers with capabilities of intercepting enemy missiles and incoming adversary aircrafts once delivered.
Through Naval L-SAM program, both DAPA and ROK Navy expects not only current but its future destroyers to be better suited for high-intensity naval combat scenarios. The first ship to have these indigenous missiles onboard will be KDDX, South Korea’s “semi-AEGIS” destroyer which is scheduled to be delivered to ROK Navy no later than 2030. The total budget of Naval L-SAM program is estimated to be 690 billion Korean won ($525 million USD), with first batch of LRIP (Low-Rate Initial Production) of these missiles included. Preliminary research for this program will begin this year, while formal introduction to active service is scheduled for 2030, coinciding with the commissioning of KDDX destroyers.