The Ukrainian army is about to get its hands on the South Korean Chiron man-portable air defense system (MANPADS), according to a recent report by the Czech daily iDnes.
South Korea will indirectly supply about $2.9 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine via the Czech Republic. The United States would fund the arms supply.
“The Americans will pay for weapons – rocket launchers and cannon ammunition for billions of dollars (editorial sources speak of about three billion dollars, or about seventy-five billion crowns in conversion)”, reports iDnes le September 29.
Weapons will primarily include South Korean Chiron (KP-SAM Shingung) MANPADS, according to iDnes.
Chiron (KP-SAM Shingung)
Produced by South Korean aerospace and defense company, LIG Nex1, the Chiron MANPADS are intended to protect troops in the forward area from low-level threats. Known in South Korea as “Shingung”, it is marketed internationally as Chiron.
Development of the system started in 1995 and it entered service in South Korea in 2005. Apart from that, the Chiron is also used by the armed forces of Indonesia and Peru.
MANPADS can be used to destroy fixed-wing aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and cruise missiles at approximately seven kilometers. Its probability of hitting non-maneuvering targets is said to be 90%.
The Chiron’s surface-to-air missile (SAM) has an integrated friend or foe (IFF) system. It is equipped with a dual-color (IR/UV) seeker, which allows the missile to cancel the impact of infrared countermeasures (IRCM) used by low-flying aircraft.
According to South Korea’s Defense Development Agency, the missile is superior to the American FIM-92 Stinger and the French Mistral in terms of hit probability, price and portability, making it invaluable in the field.
The Chiron will be the latest addition to Ukraine’s ever-growing MANPADS arsenal that has played a significant role in the ongoing war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have used MANPADS extensively in their air interdiction strategy against each other.
For example, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, Oleg Salyukov, said in an interview on September 30 that a third of Ukrainian combat aircraft were shot down using MANPADS Igla-S and Verba.
Additionally, a retired Russian fighter pilot admitted the effectiveness of Ukrainian MANPADS in a recent interview with EurAsian Times.
“Most of our Su-35s, Su-24s and Su-34s were hit while flying at low altitude,” a retired Russian pilot told EurAsian Times, who requested anonymity.
Therefore, since the start of the war in February, thousands of MANPADS of various types from several countries have been supplied to Ukrainian forces across the country, and more are on the way. For example, the US government has pledged to supply Ukraine with over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems.
Similarly, South Korean Chiron MANPADS have also long been sought after by Ukraine. However, Seoul was unwilling to supply the system due to South Korea’s “principled position” not to supply lethal military equipment to the war-torn country.
South Korea rejects Ukraine’s request for Chiron MANPADS
In April, South Korea reportedly rejected a Ukrainian request for the anti-aircraft system. The request was made by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov during a call with his South Korean counterpart Suh Wook.
However, “Minister Suh politely reiterated the principled position of the South Korean government that its assistance is limited to non-lethal materials,” a South Korean defense ministry official told This Week in Asia.
Soon after, President Zelensky also appealed to South Korean lawmakers for weapons, citing the country’s national history as he recalled how the international community helped South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. .
“South Korea has various weapons needed to protect us from Russian tanks, ships and missiles,” Zelensky said through an interpreter. “Please help us stand up against the invaders,” he said in his appeal.
It seems that Seoul has finally decided to meet Ukraine’s request, albeit through indirect means.
However, Ukraine’s request was not limited to Chiron MANPADS, according to Kim Jong-dae, a military expert and former lawmaker with the pro-Labour Justice Party, who said Ukraine wanted the surface-to-air missiles. medium-range Cheongung II of South Korea (M-SAM system).
Cheongung II SAMs are based on the technology of the 9M96 missile used on the Russian S-350E and S-400 missile systems. The missile can engage incoming enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles at an altitude of less than 40 kilometers.
Additionally, the missiles would have anti-electronic warfare capabilities to continue operating, despite the jamming.
It would be a very advanced high-level air defense system for Ukraine, and Kyiv’s interest in the system is understandable.
As EurAsian Times has explained at length, forward-deployed medium and long-range air defenses force enemy combat aircraft to fly at altitudes below 4,500 meters, directly within range of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS ). Without these, MANPADS will be rendered useless.