RAM Missiles to Be Developed Locally
By Jung Sung-ki
Advanced U.S. RAM ship-to-air missiles will be developed and produced locally for overseas sales, as LIG Nex1 has begun producing the weapon with technology cooperation from Raytheon.
A ceremony was held Oct. 19 to mark the initial production of the missile, at LIG Nex1's facility in Gumi, South Gyeongsang Province. Those in attendance included representatives from the two firms, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the South Korean Navy and the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality.
``It's a significant step that South Korea has begun producing its own guided ship-to-air missiles,'' an LIG Nex1 spokesman said, adding his firm will supply them to the South Korean Navy by the end of next year.
``Under an agreement, LIG Nex1 is able to export the RAM missiles to other nations, and it is expected to contribute to boosting the nation's sales of defense goods overseas to a great extent,'' he said.
From 2012, the firm will also begin maintenance for the guided missiles, which will save money on overseas maintenance and repair work, said the spokesman.
LIG Nex1 President and CEO Koo Bon-sang said, ``Through efforts to localize foreign armament, we can witness positive economic influences, such as job creation, as well as save money for buying expensive foreign weapons.''
The production of the missile will also serve as a stepping stone for the nation to develop a comprehensive anti-ship air defense system in the future, Koo said.
The RAM (RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile) is a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile in use by the navies of the United States, Turkey, Germany and others.
South Korea introduced the missile in 2000 to arm its KDX-series destroyers.
The RAM missile has been fired in over 150 flight tests to date, resulting in a success rate of greater than 95 percent. This extremely high reliability is the culmination of years of development, testing, and design improvements.