SEOUL — Defense authorities here are probing a recent test-failure of the country’s new anti-submarine torpedo, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) Aug. 31.
On July 25, a Hongsangeo (Red Shark) ship-to-submarine light torpedo failed in hitting an underwater target and went missing in the water during a field test off the coast of Pohang, about 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul, a DAPA spokesman said.
“A group of experts from the ADD [Agency for Defense Development] and the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality are investigating the cause of the failure,” said Lt. Col. Choi Jong-oh at the DAPA’s public affairs office. “Production of the second batch of Hongsangeo torpedoes will start after the investigation.”
In 2009, the DAPA approved a plan to produce the first batch of Hongsangeo torpedoes and ship-based vertical launch systems with an investment of $145 million.
The Hongsangeo rocket, similar to the U.S.-made vertical launch anti-submarine rocket, had been co-developed by the ADD and LIG Nex1, a leading South Korean missile manufacturer, with an investment of about $80 million. The torpedo can travel about 20 kilometers in the air before dropping into waters to track and destroy targets, according to the developers.
The South Korean Navy started equipping its KDX-II/III destroyers with the new torpedoes.
The Hongsangeo failure raised alarm over the accuracy rate of South Korean precision-guided weapons.
According to a report submitted by the DAPA to the National Assembly, the accuracy rate of precision-guided munitions ranged from 33 percent to 100 percent in 2011.
The Air Force’s AGM-142 air-to-surface missile recorded an accuracy rate of only 33 percent, while the AGM-84H missile installed on the top-of-the-line F-15K fighters had an accuracy rate of 50 percent, the report showed.
In the case of the Navy, the Cheongsangeo (Blue Shark) light torpedo had an accuracy rate of only 50 percent, according to the report.