SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korea plans to increase next year's budget to develop its homegrown missile defense system amid rising nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday.
Among the 2017 defense budget, 1.58 trillion won (1.43 billion U.S. dollars) would be set apart for development costs of the indigenous anti-missile program.
The 2017 costs allocated to develop so-called Kill Chain and Korea Air & Missile Defense (KAMD) systems were up 3.8 percent from 2016 to prepare for growing DPRK nuclear and missile threats, Yonhap said.
The total defense budget for 2017 reached 40.33 trillion won, up 4 percent from this year. The defense budget, which topped 40 trillion won for the first time, was submitted to the National Assembly for deliberations.
The submission followed the DPRK's test-launch on Monday of three Rodong ballistic missiles that traveled about 1,000 km into eastern waters.
Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its east coastal town of Sinpo, where the country's submarine base is known to be located, on Aug. 24.
Seoul's military believes that the DPRK forces have advanced their nuclear and missile capabilities following Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January and the launch in February of a long-range rocket.
South Korea will invest 533.1 billion won into the KAMD project next year, up 40.5 percent from this year. The KAMD is a project to develop its indigenous missile defense system to shoot down incoming DPRK missiles at multiple layers.
The project includes the development of interceptors, including medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM) and long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM) that can shoot down missiles at an altitude of less than 100 km.
Among the KAMD budget, 283.7 billion won will be spent to upgrade U.S. PAC-2 missiles already deployed in South Korea. Seoul's military has a plan to replace some of PAC-2 missiles with advanced PAC-3 missiles by 2022.
The L-SAM development project will get a budget of 114.1 billion won next year, more than doubling this year's 37.6 billion won.
Despite the multi-layered homegrown interceptor development project, South Korea agreed in July with the United States to deploy a U.S. missile shield in South Korean soil. One Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery is scheduled to be installed in southeastern South Korea by the end of next year.
It indicates South Korea entering the U.S. missile defense program, causing strong oppositions from China and Russia. The THAAD battery, composed of 48 interceptors, six launchers, an X-band radar and a fire control unit, is incapable of more than 1,000 DPRK missiles and a ballistic missile from a DPRK submarine.
Meanwhile, the Kill Chain project, which aims to preemptively strike the DPRK's missile launch sites when signs of first strike are detected, will receive 1.05 trillion won as budget next year.
It was down 8.4 percent from this year as many parts of the development project entered into a final stage, according to the Yonhap report.
Seoul's military plans to start the development of its homegrown reconnaissance satellites in 2017 to better spot the DPRK missiles, allocating 74 billion won to the project. It was sharply up from 2 billion won for this year.
The country will spend 229.4 billion won next year to purchase Global Hawks, a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned surveillance aircraft developed by the U.S.-based Northrop Grumman. The purchased aircrafts will be deployed from 2018.
For the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) project to develop the country's next-generation fighter jets with its homegrown technology, 303 billion won will be spent next year, sharply up from 67 billion won in 2016.
Budget allotted in 2017 to develop the next-generation Aegis-equipped destroyers amounts to 176.5 billion won, with costs for the 3,000-ton submarine development reaching 359.5 billion won.