South Korea's LIG Nex1 Secures $3.2B Deal to Export Missile Defense System to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has also signed a contract with LIG Nex1 to localize and manufacture air defense systems.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 10:13 AM, February 7, 2024
  • 550
South Korea's LIG Nex1 Secures $3.2B Deal to Export Missile Defense System to Saudi Arabia
LIG Nex1 at World Defense Show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia @LIG Nex1

South Korean defense company LIG Nex1 has secured a substantial $3.2 billion deal to export mid-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM II) to Saudi Arabia, according to an announcement by South Korea's Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday.

The contract for the Cheongung M-SAM II was finalized between LIG Nex1 and the Saudi defense ministry in November, marking the second overseas sale of the system after a previous deal with the United Arab Emirates in January 2022. The missile system, known for its hit-to-kill capabilities, can intercept incoming missiles at an altitude of approximately 40 kilometers, providing protection to crucial facilities from both artillery and aircraft threats.

The M-SAM II is designed to effectively respond to various airborne threats, including ballistic attacks, and provide surface-to-air defense capabilities against enemy aircraft.

Details of the deal were disclosed following talks between the defense ministers of South Korea and Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Sunday during the ongoing World Defense Show.

The contract signing occurred on the sidelines of the exhibition, where South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and the Saudi defense ministry also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate cooperation in the defense industry and joint weapons development.

South Korea's LIG Nex1 Secures $3.2B Deal to Export Missile Defense System to Saudi Arabia
Mid-range Surface-to-Air Missile block-II (M-SAM II)

As part of the MOU, a bilateral committee will be established to collaboratively conduct research and development of weapons systems, fostering continued cooperation in the defense industry, according to DAPA.

South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik concluded his three-nation trip to the Middle East, which included visits to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, aiming to strengthen arms industry ties.

In a parallel development, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense has also signed a separate contract with LIG Nex1 to localize and manufacture air defense systems produced by the South Korean firm. While specific details about the system were not disclosed, LIG Nex1 is known for producing the M-SAM II, a mid-range surface-to-air missile system categorized as the Core Weapon System of Korea Air & Missile Defense (KAMD).

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