The South Korean Navy is planning to load man-portable Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), so-called Mistral, to all patrol boats in operation in due order to use them in antiaircraft and antiship defense purpose.
“The Navy will load Mistrals onto patrol boats that are deployed in the Yellow Sea [near the Northern Limit Line] starting the end of this month,” said an official under the Naval Operations Command. “Eventually, all patrol boats will be equipped with such weapon and we expect strong defense capabilities in the waters [near the inter-Korean maritime border] and firepower of warships.”
The official also said that it is the first time for South Korean Navy to install portable SAMs. The Navy and the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) jointly conducted performance test and evaluation on the Mistrals for six months since January this year. At the end, the mistrals received “suitability” judgment in the assessment.
The Naval Operations Command came up with an idea of loading Mistrals on patrol boats while seeking for ways to reinforce firepower of patrol boats.
In regards to performance of Mistrals, ADD confirmed that such missiles show outstanding performance during a live-fire drill last month in dealing with not only aircraft but also short-distance floating objects or warships.