SEOUL — South Korea will buy US-made thermal designation systems for aerial laser-guided bombs, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced Sept. 23.
According to the arms agency, L-3 Communications’ Scarab Thermal Imager Laser Designator (TILD-A) was selected for the 50 billion won ($46 million) contract after beating out two rivals: the Ground Laser Target Designator (GLTD)-III built by Northrop Grumman and the Portable Laser Lightweight Designator developed by Israel’s Elbit Systems.
“After five months of evaluations since April, the Scarab TILD-A of L-3 Communications was found to have better performances and price competitiveness than the others,” DAPA spokesman Baek Yoon-hyung said in a briefing. “With the deployment of the laser target designator, the fighter aircraft’s target acquisition and precision striking capability will increase to a greater extent.”
The South Korean Air Force introduced hundreds of GBU-28 bunker-busting bombs for its F-15K fleet through the U.S. foreign military sales program sales with the aim of neutralizing key North Korean targets, including missile sites and underground nuclear facilities. The contract was valued $67 million.
The service also plans to buy either Raytheon’s GBU-50 or Boeing’s GBU-54 munition to strike North Korean mobile missile launchers.