SEOUL – The South Korean army said on Wednesday it has successfully completed its first live-fire drill with long-range air-to-surface Taurus cruise missiles, developed by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, to bomb precise targets in North Korea.
The drill that simulated the bombing of key facilities in North Korea fired a missile from a F-15K fighter plane that flew 400 kilometers and hit an intended target off the coast of Gunsan on Tuesday in Taean, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of Seoul, according to the South Korean Air Force.
The success of the exercises demonstrated the “military’s capability to respond to an enemy attack, as well as its ability to launch precision attacks on strategic targets even from a distance,” the Air Force said in a statement, reported local news agency Yonhap.
The Taurus missiles have a range of 500 kilometers and can reach a speed of 1,163 kilometers per hour (723 miles per hour) and are capable of targeting the entire of North Korea.
South Korea conducted the live-fire drill in response to the North’s sixth and by far the most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, when it claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. The nuclear test escalated tensions on the Korean peninsula and led to fresh sanctions on the Kim Jong-un regime by the United Nations Security Council.
South Korea plans to accelerate the deployment of some 170 of these missiles in its “Kill Chain” unit to intercept North Korean missiles in the face of repeated weapons tests by Pyongyang.