By Jung Sung-ki
Three foreign bidders have submitted contract proposals for South Korea's program to acquire ballistic missile early warning radar systems, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Tuesday.
The bidders are Israel's Elta, Raytheon of the United States and Thales Netherlands, the agency said in a news release.
The agency plans to select the finalist by the end of the year after reviewing each firm's contract proposal and finishing price negotiations, it said.
The agency plans to buy two sets of the radar systems by 2010, as part of efforts to establish an indigenous Air and Missile Defense-Cell (AMD-Cell), a missile defense command-and-control center used in monitoring, tracking and intercepting incoming cruise and ballistic missiles from North Korea, according to sources.
About 300 billion won will be spent to establish the AMD-Cell, which will be inter-operable with the U.S. Forces Korea's theater missile defense system.
Based on the command-control center, Aegis-based ship-to-air missiles and ground-based PAC-2 missile interceptors are to engage North Korean missiles under the so-called Korean air- and missile defense (KAMD) network system aimed at engaging the North's low-flying, short-and medium-range missiles.
North Korea is believed to have deployed more than 600 short-range Scud missiles with a range of 320 to 500 kilometers and 200 Rodong missiles with a range of 1,300 kilometers near the inter-Korean border. The communist state is believed to have developed a 6,700-kilomter-range Taepodong-2 missile that can hit Alaska.