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US Clears $314 Million in Possible Sales of Air Defense Missiles to S. Korea

South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles developed by Raytheon Co., but is building more missile defense-capable destroyers equipped with the weapon

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air defence missiles
FILE - A Taiwan navy Kidd-class destroyer launches an SM-2 surface-to-air missile during a drill near the east coast of Taiwan, Sept. 26, 2013. The Pentagon announced May 17, 2019, that a possible sale of $314 million worth of the missiles to South Korea had been approved. VOA

The U.S. State Department has cleared $314 million in possible sales of air defense missiles to South Korea, the Pentagon said, as tensions re-emerge on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea, a key Asian ally of the United States, asked to buy up to 94 SM-2 missiles used by ships against air threats, along with 12 guidance systems and technical assistance, for a total cost of $313.9 million, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on its website. The agency, a unit of the Department of Defense, delivered certification on Thursday notifying Congress of the possible sale.

The proposed sale, announced Friday by the Pentagon, comes after North Korea recently criticized South Korea’s defense purchases from the United States, including the arrival of the first F-35 stealth aircraft.

air defence missiles
South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles developed by Raytheon Co., but is building more missile defense-capable destroyers equipped with the weapon. Pixabay

With denuclearization talks stalled after a second summit between North Korea and United States broke down in Hanoi in February, North Korea went ahead with more weapons tests this month.

ALSO READ: North Korea Fires Two Short-Range Ballistic Missiles, Says S. Korea’s Military

The reclusive North and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty. South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles developed by Raytheon Co., but is building more missile defense-capable destroyers equipped with the weapon.

North Korea has boasted about its indigenous surface-to-air missiles. Separately, Japan, another key U.S. ally in the region, was also cleared to buy $317 million worth of medium-range air-to-air missiles from Washington, the DSCA said. (VOA)

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South Korea to Set up the World’s First 5G Autonomous Car Driving Test Bed

While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications

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self-driving car
In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, a skylight is reflected in the rear window of a Waymo driverless car during a Google event in San Francisco. Google's robotic car spin-off Waymo is poised to become the first to test fully driverless vehicles on California. VOA

South Korea on Thursday said it will set up the world’s first 5G-based autonomous car driving test bed in the capital city as it strives to take the lead in future mobility technology.

The Sangam test bed in western Seoul, to officially open Saturday, will have all the necessary infrastructure, such as a recharging station for electric vehicles (EVs), 3-D detailed maps of the road and a “future mobility center” that will act as the overall control tower, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The test bed, to be fully opened to the public and be operated 24 hours a day, will be used to conduct and test so-called Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) services based on 5G network communication, Yonhap news agency reported.

5G is the latest wireless communication network capable of superfast connection speeds, low latency and the ability to connect many devices without the system bogging down. The network, coupled with detailed 3-D images and maps of streets and related software, can make it possible for vehicles to be driven without human input.

Smartphone, 5G
5G to make way in automobile market as well. Pixabay

Asia’s fourth-largest economy was the first country in the world to launch full-fledged 5G services on April 3 and plans to provide coverage to neighborhoods in 85 cities that can benefit 93 per cent of the population by the end of 2019.

The ministry said seven vehicles — four buses and three passenger cars — will be operated on the 1.1-kilometer testing road, and citizens will be allowed to ride in the vehicles so they can see for themselves the ability of self-driving cars to recognise traffic signals, avoid obstacles on the road and ferry people safely from one place to another.

Also Read- Tech Mahindra and Airbus Come Together for Cabin, Cargo Design

While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications. (IANS)