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SLAM-ER The Intimidator
by James Dunnigan
April 27, 2014

It was recently revealed that on March 31st, as South Korea implemented new (since 2010) war plans in the face of another North Korea attack, several South Korean F-15K fighter bombers took off armed with SLAM-ER missiles and headed for the North Korean border. This apparently alarmed the North Koreans a great deal, as did the overall rapidity of the South Korean response to North Korean coastal artillery firing some shells into South Korean coastal waters. An F-15K equipped with SLAM-ER can destroy any ship in the North Korean navy as well as a wide variety of land targets. North Korean defenses are largely ineffective against the F-15K and the SLAM-ER. The F-15K has also been seen carrying the GBU-28, a smart bomb designed to penetrate the ground and destroy the many underground bunkers the North Korean commanders operate from in wartime. 

The F-15K is an upgraded version of the 36 ton U.S. F-15E (a two seat fighter bomber version of the single seat, 31 ton F-15C fighter). In service since 1988, the F-15E can carry up to 11 tons of bombs and missiles, along with a targeting pod and an internal 20mm cannon. The first F-15Ks were ordered in 2002 and delivery was completed in 2012. The South Korean Air Force wanted 120 F-15Ks but there was only money available to buy 61 of the $100 million aircraft.

The AGM-84K SLAM-ER (Standoff Land Attack Missile - Expanded Response) began full-rate production in 2000. This is a 675 kg (1,487 pound) cruise missile with a range of 270 kilometers, a speed of 855 kilometers an hour and GPS/shape recognition guidance system that is very accurate. Moreover the target can be changed or mission aborted by the pilot at any time. SLAM-ER costs about $500,000 each and has a 220 kg (500 pound) warhead based on the one used on the Tomahawk cruise missile. SLAM-ER is actually a scaled up Harpoon anti-ship missile. The U.S. Navy has about 700 of them while South Korea bought over a hundred.


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