The Philippine Army has received offers from Korea’s Hanwha Defense for the K239 Chunmoo and the Israeli Elbit System with the PULS rocket system.

The Philippines is seeking long-range rocket systems as part of the Horizon 3 phase requirement. The M142 HIMARS is a primary candidate but was found to be very expensive. The Philippine Army has received offers from Korea’s Hanwha Defense for the K239 Chunmoo and the Israeli Elbit System with the PULS rocket system, which are considered cheaper, suitable alternatives to HIMARS.

According to MaxDefense Philippines, representatives from the Philippines were present during a test of the Korean Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile II (KTSSM-II) by the Korea Defense Development Agency on December 21, 2022 at the Anheung Proving Grounds in South Korea. The missile was launched from the K239 Chunmoo rocket artillery system and hit a target 200 km away. According to the assessment, KTSSM-II is equivalent to the US ATACMS tactical ballistic missile. Each K239 Chunmoo system could carry 2 missiles of this type.

While it resembles the American MGM-140 ATACMS missile, the KTSSM is cheaper and more accurate with a shorter range, though still adequate to perform the counterbattery role. Previously, the Philippines and South Korea agreed on the transfer of some K136 Kooryong MLRS systems to the Philippine Army. The Philippine Army lacks experience in operating multiple rocket launchers, so the delivery of the K136 systems may pave the way for the future procurement of K239 Chunmoo.

Chunmoo is designed to be able to fire multiple caliber rockets. This includes 130mm, 227mm and 230mm rockets. On April 27, 2022, South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced a plan to develop a vehicle-mounted tactical surface-to-surface guided weapon (KTSSM-2). The purpose of this development project is to improve the existing KTSSM-1 to increase the range from 180 km to 290 km and integrate tactical ballistic missile systems into various types of Transporter Erector Launcher such as the K239 Chunmoo.

The Chunmoo is based on an 8×8 truck chassis also manufactured by the Company Hanwha. The truck has an armored cab located at the front of the chassis that can accommodate a crew of three. It offers protection against the firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters. All the firing operations can be controlled from inside of the crew cabin or remotely from outside of the truck.

The vehilce can run at a maximum road speed of 90 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 800 km. It can climb a gradient of 60% and a side slope of 30%. It can cross a trench of 1.4m and a water obstacle of 1.2m deep. Each Chunmoo launcher vehicle is planned to be escorted by associated transport vehicle, which carries two sets of reload rockets and is fitted with a crane.

The KTSSM-II could be a major reason for the Philippine Army to select the K239 Chunmoo over M142 HIMARS and PULS, despite the heavier Chumoo not transportable by C-130 cargo aircraft due to its larger size.

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