Delays experienced in South Korea’s infrared countermeasure development

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Excessive performance requirements are being blamed for a delay in the development of South Korea-made infrared countermeasure device.

The device also known as IRCM protects aircraft from infrared homing, or “heat-seeking” missiles by confusing the missiles’ infrared guidance system so that they miss their target.

The anti-missile device, designed to ward off North Korea‘s latest infrared-seeking missiles, has been delayed for two years because of stringent Required Operational Capabilities put forward by South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff, local newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Thursday.

At one point during the evaluation process the infrared countermeasure in question was found to be incapable of finding an incoming enemy weapon. Tests also used a U.S.-manufactured device, according to the report.

Kim Jong-dae, a spokesman of the minor opposition Justice Party, said Seoul’s joint chiefs requested an “upper limit” on the radiation intensity of the infrared countermeasure, a performance requirement that’s not included in the Required Operational Capabilities of the device in Germany, France or the United States.

The South Korean developer of the device had requested the joint chiefs remove the requirement since working on the project starting in June 2012, but the joint chiefs reportedly declined.

Seoul’s joint chiefs finally removed the cap in February, but some are criticizing the delay that may have stalled development of the device for two years.

The evaluation of IRCM took place between March and June. Seoul tried to procure the Russia-made SA-16/18 weapons or the air-to-air AA-11 missiles, but ended up conducting tests using a U.S.-made AIM-9M air-to-air missile, according to the report.

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