A South Korean official said the missile used was the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, a US-made ultra-precise missile.

Hours after North Korea launched a salvo of ballistic missiles on November 2, South Korea’s F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets fired three air-to-surface missiles into the northern sea in response, Reuters reported. A South Korean official said the missile used was the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, a US-made ultra-precise missile. The SLAM-ER is capable of attacking land and sea targets medium to long range, and it can strike both moving and stationary targets.

The South Korean military’s response reaffirmed its resolve to resolutely respond to any provocation, while demonstrating its ability to precisely strike a potential adversary. The AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER multirole missile is a deep improvement from the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile to compete with Lockheed Martin’s JASSM, MBDA Storm Shadow and Europe’s EADS Taurus KEPD 350. The SLAM-ER is a very accurate weapon; as of 2009 it had the best circular error probable of any missile used by the U.S. Navy.

The missile includes a guiding system assisted by a global positioning system, an infrared imaging seeker, and a two-way data link enabling man-in-the-loop control. Additionally, the missile has enhanced aerodynamic performance properties that enable long-range and flexible terminal assault profiles and an ordnance component with good penetrating power and lethality.

SLAM-ER employs automatic target acquisition, a crucial technology that enhances target acquisition in congested environments. It defeats the majority of infrared countermeasures and lessens the effects of unfavorable environmental circumstances.

The SLAM-ER has been in service with the US Navy since June 2000 and has been used in the Iraq War and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER weighs up to 725kg, 4.37m long, 34.3cm in diameter. It carries a 360kg warhead, has a wingspan of 2.43m, and flies at a speed of 855 km/h. SLAM-ER can be launched and piloted by a variety of aircraft including the F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18 Super Hornet and P-3C Orion, as well as the US Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagle.

The SLAM-ER has a somewhat unusual design with a bevelled head and a stable wing system, which is a far cry from the traditional AGM-84 versions. Powered by a powerful jet engine with up to 2.7 kN of thrust, the SLAM-ER has a range of up to 280 km. Guided and controlled by the Global Positioning System (GPS) and infrared imaging, the SLAM-ER can be piloted remotely while in flight, possibly redirecting to a different target after launch. If the original target has been destroyed, or is no longer considered dangerous, it may self-destruct.

Currently, the countries equipped with this type of missile include: Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States and Australia. The AGM-84H uses the WDU-40/B warhead of the Tomahawk Block 3 cruise missile, using a titanium-piercing warhead to increase penetration and then detonate, increasing the efficiency of destruction and incendiary. In the US Navy’s inventory, there are about 700 missiles that will be upgraded to the SLAM-ER standard.


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