South Korea Looking at Heavier Missile Payloads

On July 24, reports indicated that the South Korean government is pushing to revise its missile guidelines developed with the United States. Officials working under President Moon Jae-in are hoping to increase the maximum weight of ROK ballistic missile warheads from the current 500 kg to 1,000 kg. South Korean officials argue that these revisions are necessary given North Korea’s developing missile threat.

Formal US-ROK missile guidelines were established in a 1979 Memorandum of Agreement between the two nations. The MoA limited South Korean ballistic missiles to range of 180 km while carrying a 500 kg payload. In exchange, the United States would provide technical assistance with South Korea’s missile development. This agreement was revised in 2001, after which South Korea could deploy ballistic missiles with a range of 300 km while carrying a 500 kg payload. US-ROK missile guidelines were most recently revised in 2012, allowing South Korea to deploy ballistic missiles with a range of 800 km while carrying a 500 kg payload.

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