A Brief history of the KSAM – Chunma

The K-SAM ‘Pegasus’ (Korean “Chunma”) is essentially a South Korean modification of the Crotale NG system developed by Thomson CSF. So, to correctly understand the KSAM we must also have a good knowledge base on the system it’s based on. The Crotale is a short range all weather air defense system which was developed in 1967 and produced in 1978. The main customers for the Crotale were France and South Africa. The Crotale was reasonably successful being deployed to both the Gulf Wars and to Bosnia. The Crotale underwent a modernisation program which entered production in 1990 – this was named Crotale NG (the NG standing for ‘New Generation’). The upgrade encompassed several key systems of the launcher and the missile was further updated. The new ‘VT-1’ missile was capable of sustaining a load factor of 35G’s, achieving Mach 3.5 and had an 11Km effective maximum range. The VT-1 also featured an upgraded warhead. The warhead now weighed 13Kg and had a lethal radius of 8m. The launcher system now featured numerous sensor updates to compliment the newfound lethality of the VT-1 missile. The system now included an S-band pulse doppler radar with a 20Km effective detection range, a Ku-band TWT tracking radar capable of tracking targets at a range of 35Km and a thermal camera, a new daylight camera system and finally an IR localiser.

Now that we have covered the system that the K-SAM is based on we can now examine the K-SAM itself. The K-SAM began development in 1999 after the RoKAF put out the requirement for a short ranged SAM that would be augmented to suit South Korean needs. The Crotale NG was chosen and multiple companies were awarded contracts for the development of specific parts of the K-SAM’s systems. Samsung and Thales jointly developed an indigenous sensor system and a new missile was specially constructed by LIG Next1 and finally the Crotale system was integrated into the K200 chassis by Doosan DST. The RoKAF ordered an initial batch of 48 units and a further order for 68 units was placed in 2003. 

A K-SAM firing on a rage – the VT-1 style missile is clearly visible

The System

The Radar

The radar used on K-SAM itself is an S band surveillance radar which is mounted on top of the turret of the K-SAM. This position is ideal as the radar antenna is elevated over the vehicle at a sufficient height to avoid ground clutter and to extend the radar horizon marginally. Interestingly the tracking radar (mounted on the turret front) uses the Ku-Band of radar frequencies. These frequencies are commonly used for detecting speeding cars, especially in Europe. The Ku-Band is commonly used for detecting incoming projectiles such as rockets and motors. This makes it ideal for the K-SAM, which is to provide short range point defense against very fast low flying threats – namely strike aircraft and helicopters. Unfortunately the author was unable to find out the specific names of the tracking and surveillance radars as he believes they simply fall under the ‘Pegasus’ name. 

It is also worth noting that the K-SAM is able to operate in very high ECM environments as it has several secondary targeting sensors. These include daylight and thermal cameras that are part of the digital fire control system of the K-SAM. 

Crotale NG P1220851
A Fantastic close up image of the Crotale-NG system – Note the thermal/daylight/EOTS camera to the les of the radar dish (image oriented)

The Missile

The Pegasus system is armed with 8 ready to fire missiles. The missile was made by a south korean company called LiG (a sub department of the tech fire LG… yes the TV people). Unfortunately information about this missile is sparse (understandable as this system is still in current service). From what I can find out the missile uses a proximity fuze coupled with a directed energy warhead (where the force of the blast is focussed, but is not a shaped charge). This combination offers exceptional lethality against all air targets even when they are maneuvering. However, as the missile is based on the missile used by the Crotale-NG system we can make the assumption that the Korean missiles performance will be similar to the French system. The missile used in the Crotale-NG system is the VT-1. The VT-1 missile is 229cm long, 16.5cm in diameter and weighs 75Kg. The VT-1 has a High Explosive warhead using a focalised fragmentation. The warhead weighs 14Kg and is detonated by either direct contact or an infrared triggered proximity charge. After launch the missile accelerates to Mach 3.5 and has a maximum range of 11Km (5.9Nm) and a maximum altitude of 6,000m (19,650’). The VT-1 missile is exceedingly maneuverable as it was designed to provide point defense against low flying, fast and maneuverable targets. As such the missile is capable of sustaining loads as high as 35g. This makes any effort to outmaneuver the missile utterly futile. However the short range of the Pegasus can be exploited in any attempt to destroy a K-SAM unit.

The missile uses roll stabilization in flight and is both pitch and yaw stabilised. The canard fins provide pitch and yaw authority. The missile command guidance is provided by direct radio link from the launch vehicle. The missile’s position in space is tracked via the Ku(J) band radar mounted on the launcher. Course corrections are provided via command type guidance.

A K-SAM moves through a smokescreen while on exercise – note the mast mounted search radar and the frontally mounted tracking radar!

How to Defeat K-SAM Pegasus in BMS

As aforementioned, due to the incredible maneuverability of the VT-1 style missile. Thus, it is best to avoid the envelope of the K-SAM completely. You may ask, why not just drag the missile – and while this is possible in fringe cases – generally (due to the missiles Mach 3.5 speed) the missile will reach you before you get anywhere near the edge of the weapon engagement zone. Additionally the K-SAM has exceptional ECCM and chaff resistance so jamming and defensive aids are not as useful as they are with other systems. On the whole the best way to defeat a K-SAM is to stay out of its weapon envelope and exploit its short range. 

How to Destroy K-SAM Pegasus in BMS

The K-SAM is mounted on a tracked vehicle chassis and has a very limited range. Because of this the system is very vulnerable to attacks from a standoff weapon (such as JSOW and AGM-65). The author recommends utilising AGM-65 from medium altitude while being very vigilant of your range to target. Do not enter the K-SAM’s WEZ at all costs – consider this system to be an area denial system (much like the SA-10 or Patriot). If standoff weapons are not available then a low level pop-up toss attack using cluster weapons is your best bet. 

Quick Reference

  • RMax – 5.8nm
  • RMin – N/A
  • AltMax – 19650’
  • AltMin – N/A
  • Typical Engagement – 5Nm at or below 19650’