Military suffering ammunition shortage
By Jung Sung-ki
The South Korean Army is short on ammunition reserves to be used in wartime, an opposition lawmaker claimed Friday.
According to Rep. Song Young-sun of the Future Hope Alliance, the service only has enough artillery ammunition to last for two weeks, should war break out. Song is a member of the National Assembly Defense Committee.
The stockpile of high-cost ammunition, such as howitzer shells for K-9 self-propelled guns, is even lower, the lawmaker said.
The Army is deploying K-9s mainly to islands near the West Sea border with North Korea to counter any long-range artillery attacks should hostilities break out.
But the Army only has enough of the K-9 shells for three to four days, she said.
The multiple-launch rocket systems’ ammunition and dual-purpose improved conventional ammunition are also in short supply.
An Army spokesman said it was not so necessary to maintain a large amount of ammunition.
“We assess artillery exchanges between the two Koreas would continue for about six days, should a conflict occur,” the spokesman said. “Given additional ammunition supplies from rear area units and also from the U.S. military, there will be no shortage of ammunition in wartime.”
North Korea is believed to have about 1,100 long-range artillery systems, including 60-kilometer-range 240mm rocket launchers, along the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two countries.
Both Koreas have remained technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a permanent peace treaty.