South Korea Buying Israeli Radar Systems to Counter Missile Threat

South Korea announced that it is buying two Israeli-made radar systems to counter missile threats, despite warming ties with North Korea, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

Seoul is purchasing two Green Pine radar arrays made by ELTA Systems Ltd., which is a subsidiary of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. The deal is worth $292 million according to South Korean officials.

The South Korean government said that the systems can “spot and track ballistic missiles from a long distance at an early stage.” The announcement did not explicitly mention North Korea.

Experts believe that the radars could possibly deter North Korea from actually launching missiles against its southern neighbor.

Though South Korea has an earlier version of Green Pine, the current iteration of the radar system, known as Block C, has the capability of not only detecting an incoming missile but also operate together with a missile defense system to intercept the threat.

South Korea bought its first pair of Green Pine arrays in 2009. At  the time the nation said that the Israeli radars would be used together with Patriot interceptor missiles purchased from the United States.

The latest version of Green Pine is reported to have the ability to track multiple threats concurrently and have a greater range than South Korea’s current system. The earlier radar system is said to have a range of 800 kilometers (500 miles).

In recent months, the leaders of South Korea and North Korea, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, have engaged in negotiations to ease tensions between their two nations. The two Koreas, which fought a war from 1950 to 1953 that ended in a ceasefire, technically remain in a state of war.

Kim and President Donald Trump held a summit in June and signed a denuclearization deal. However, little progress has been made since then and a planned meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a top North Korean official this month has been postponed.

[Photo: ELTAsystems / YouTube ]