Air defense system provided for MApN by the Korean company LiG

George Marinescu
English Section / 20 iunie

Sistem MANPAD KP-SAM Chiron. Photo source LIG Nex1

Sistem MANPAD KP-SAM Chiron. Photo source LIG Nex1

Versiunea în limba română

Within BSDA 2024, the South Korean LiG group had a stand set up, which presented the Chiron missile launcher, a launcher that would also be part of Romania's air defense system. According to the media, at the beginning of the year an intergovernmental agreement was finalized with the Republic of Korea for the purchase of the Chiron short-range air defense system (KP-SAM). Through the contract, valued at approximately 96.5 million dollars, the Ministry of National Defense (MApN) would purchase for the Land Forces 54 Chiron launchers (KP-SAM), anti-aircraft missiles related to the launchers, an initial package of logistical assistance, documentation, support technical assistance and training services. This acquisition is part of Romania's "Strategic Umbrella", a program designed to acquire various anti-aircraft assets for the Romanian Army. We note that in 2022 a tender was held for the purchase of light anti-aircraft systems, and although the MBDA France Mistral 3 system was initially chosen, the process was later canceled.

The selection of the Chiron system produced by the South Korean company LiG is part of a program through which MApN will spend almost 680 million dollars on short-range anti-aircraft systems, with the Ministry going to spend about 2 billion on several types of anti-aircraft defense systems USD.

Developed by South Korea's Defense Development Agency and LiG, the Chiron missile launcher is designed to counter fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and cruise missiles. It entered the equipment of the South Korean army in 2005 and was recognized for its effectiveness and portability compared to other similar systems. The Chiron system has been compared favorably with other international air defense systems (MANPADS), such as the American FIM-92 Stinger and the French Mistral, in terms of hit probability, price and portability.

The Chiron stands out for its lightweight and easy-to-manage design, weighing 24.3 kilograms for the launcher. The rocket itself is 1.68 m long and 80 millimeters in diameter, which makes it relatively compact. The system's modular design allows for operation either by a two-person crew on a tripod or by a single operator holding it directly, providing significant operational flexibility in the field.

Chiron's maximum firing range is 7 kilometers, remarkable for a MANPADS system. It is equipped with an explosive charge of 2.5 kilograms, enough to cause significant damage to the targeted threat. The rocket is powered by a solid fuel engine and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.1, i.e. 2590 kilometers per hour.

The guidance system allows the missile to effectively track its target based on infrared emissions, making it particularly effective against a variety of aerial targets, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drones and cruise missiles. The infrared guidance capability also makes the Chiron system difficult to detect and counter, thus increasing its effectiveness on the battlefield.

Basically, the Chiron system is a launcher equipped with a man-operated portable surface-to-air missile (MANPADS), and the unit cost of this system was in 2023 almost 2.6 million euros.