SEOUL - South Korea is developing a bomb capable of penetrating North Korean bunkers or caves housing artillery pieces, according to a member of parliament's defense committee.
An aide to lawmaker Song Young-Sun quoted her as saying that the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) launched a 6.2 billion won ($5.35 million) project last year to develop the "bunker-buster."
ADD officials declined to comment.
"ADD is developing a bomb capable of penetrating 1.5-metre-thick (4.95 feet) concrete walls with a view to completion by 2013," Song was quoted assaying in comments Dec. 15. "When developed, this weapon will be used for precision strikes against military strongholds in the North."
A military official told Chosun Ilbo newspaper the new bombs would be capable of destroying most bunkers and other structures hiding airplanes and tanks.
North Korea's long-range artillery is often hidden in fortified caves and rolled out to fire shots before being rapidly pushed back. For this reason, South Korean troops were unable to retaliate effectively with their K-9 howitzers when the North shelled Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed Yellow Sea border in November last year. Four South Koreans including two Marines were killed.
The ADD also plans to develop another bomb capable of penetrating five-six meters once the initial bunker-buster is completed, Chosun said.