SEOUL: South Korea on Wednesday (Feb 23) test fired a long-range surface-to-air missile, the Yonhap News Agency reported, a month after North Korea tested a record number of increasingly powerful missiles potentially capable of evading defences in the South.
An L-SAM was successfully launched from a testing site in Taean, 150km south-west of the capital Seoul, Yonhap reported, citing unnamed sources. The Ministry of Defence declined to confirm the report.
International tension has been rising over a recent series of North Korean ballistic missile tests. January was a record month for such tests, with at least seven launches, including a new type of "hypersonic missile" able to manoeuvre at high speed, making it potentially difficult to intercept.
The L-SAM is a "cutting-edge indigenous weapon system" currently under development to defend against missiles or other high-flying threats, according to South Korea's Agency for Defence Development.
Plans call for it to target incoming missiles at altitudes of around 50km to 60km, and it is due to become operational by 2026. Yonhap said that Wednesday's test raised the prospect that its deployment could be accelerated.