South Korea Delays L-SAM Flight Test

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On October 15, the South Korean Agency for Defense Development announced that two flight tests of the L-SAM interceptor missile scheduled for this month will be postponed to November. The tests were previously delayed from April and June launch dates to June and July followed by a second move to October. Members of the opposition party to President Moon Jae-in allege the tests were delayed by order of the President’s office to avoid provocation of North Korea as the two countries navigate detente. Spokeswoman for the National Defense Ministry Choi Hyun-soo denied the allegation, stating that the agency wished to resolve newly discovered deficiencies in the missile before undertaking the tests. The L-SAM is a long-range surface-to-surface missile which is intended to provide one of three layers of Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) in addition to the lower altitude M-SAM and Patriot interceptors. L-SAM is slated to remain on track for deployment in 2023.