South Korea’s army laid out some of its war plans to parliamentarians there on Thursday, outlining how it would destroy North Korea’s front-line artillery systems and the regime’s SCUD missile facilities.
The army said it would be able to meet those objectives quickly, according to coverage from South Korea’s largest news agency, publicly funded Yonhap News.
The army detailed a three-tier missile strike concept it would use in the early stages of war, outlining in a report to the National Assembly how it would start with its “artillery killer,” the KTSSM (Korean Tactical Surface-To-Surface Missile).
“KTSSM-I will strike the enemy’s tunnels with the 170-mm self-propelled howitzers and 240-mm multiple-rocket launch systems,” Yonhap reported an army source disclosing.
The army report comes during a regular parliamentary audit of the nation’s 490,000 troop-strong military.
While the report is recurring, this year it comes as the U.S. military conducts a massive joint exercise with Korean military forces.
As tensions on the Korean Peninsula mount, U.S. and South Korean forces have used military exercises and public statements to signal their battle readiness to North Korea as diplomatic efforts continue.
If war does break out on the Korean Peninsula, the initial salvos would be focused on the area just beyond the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the 155-mile strip of land that separates North and South Korea.
Just beyond that 1.5-mile-wide zone, both nations have amassed troops and military assets, a show of force that hasn’t relaxed since open fighting stopped in July 1953.
The DMZ is one of the most heavily militarized areas in the world.
Most of the North’s artillery equipment is positioned there, camouflaged and sometimes buried in tunnels, ready to deploy, but protected, hence the need for a missile strike capability that can penetrate the tunnels.
The second tier of the plan outlined by the army on Thursday, Oct. 19, will see South Korea use its KTSSM-II missile to bomb SCUD missile facilities and 300-mm rocket launchers, the army said.
The army also plans to use indigenous Hyunmoo-II ballistic missiles to take out North Korea’s nuclear units and other WMD systems and supports.
The missile plans are part of a three-tiered military buildup South Korea accelerated in September. Part of that buildup included a “decapitation” strategy to take out the North Korean leadership.
Thursday’s report to Parliament also included what looks to be an update on that effort and it depends heavily on efforts to acquire a more powerful ballistic missile, known as the Hyunmoo-IV.
That missile will come about as the result of a deal with the United States that will raise the maximum payload South Korean missiles will be able to deliver.
President Trump announced his in principle approval for that effort in early September. He also gave “conceptual approval” for South Korea to buy billions of dollars worth of military hardware from the United States.
Meanwhile, South Korea continues to develop its broader military strategies.
While the army did not detail those efforts in Yonhap’s coverage of the update to Parliament, South Korea has let the world know it is working on military capabilities that include pre-emptive strikes and missile defense.