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South Korea tested the improved CTM-290 ballistic missile

South Korea has test-fired for the first time an improved CTM-290 tactical ballistic missile for export markets.

On Thursday, Jan. 11, South Korea test-fired 600mm CTM-290 ballistic missile for export, an improved version of KTSSM, at Korean’s Agency for Defense Development’s Anheung test site.

Launch of CTM-290 ballistic missile from K239L Chunmoo launcher / Photo: Hanwha Aerospace

According to a South Korean military official, the test was conducted under the requirement of 600mm ballistic missiles that can be mounted on Chunmoo MLRS in the armed forces of the countries that purchased this system, i.e. Poland, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

An important point is that the tested missile is a different system intended for export, unlike the current Ure-I/KTSSM Block-I missiles or the planned Ure-II/KTSSM Block-II (Korea Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile), it can be said to be an improved export KTSSM Block-I that can be launched from Chunmoo.

In February 2023, Korean authorities also reported that the 290 km-range ballistic missiles that Poland hopes to introduce into service by improving the capabilities of the Homar-K MLRS will share basic technologies with the Ure-II/KTSSM Block 2 and will demonstrate similar concepts, but will be a separate weapon system.

As a result, the CTM-290 missile is an export variant of the improved Ure-I/KTSSM Block-I missile, which can be seen as an intermediate solution between the existing Ure-I/KTSSM Block-I missile and the Ure-II/KTSSM Block-II missile which is under development. Its fuselage has a similar configuration and shape to the 600 mm Ure-I/KTSSM Block-I, but its performance is improved, it can be fired from a modified Chunmoo launcher, and its range has been extended to 290-295 km, in accordance with the provisions of the Missile Agreement Technology Control Regime (MTCR) treaty.

Moreover, it is known that the warheads carried by the CTM-290 are in fact the penetrating and thermobaric warheads from Ure-I/KTSSM Block-I, while the planned Ure-II/KTSSM Block-II will additionally carry a third type: a high-explosive warhead (HE).

Photo: Hanwha Aerospace

The Ure-I/KTSSM Block-I is a single-stage, 600 mm surface-to-surface tactical ballistic missile with a range of only 180 km, although its penetrating and thermobaric warheads were designed to hit North Korean bunkers and fortifications.

Ure-II/KTSSM Block-II is to be another type of ballistic missile of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, separate from the export type CTM-290 for the K239L Chunmoo system. Its development was approved by the South Korean’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on September 18, 2023. The works are scheduled to last until December 2027, and the missile will carry HE warhead to a distance of 300 km in order to directly attack enemy targets.


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