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The UAE has signed a preliminary deal to acquire South Korea’s Cheongung II mid-range surface-to-air missile (M-SAM) weapon system.

The missile will add to the UAE’s national air defence capabilities and the deal will strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries.

It follows discussions between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai, reported Yonhap news agency.

President Moon is on a three-day official visit to the UAE and on a week-long trip to the Middle East.

South Korean presidential office did not reveal additional information regarding the missile deal nor its value.

It is expected to be around $3.5bn, according to media reports.

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By GlobalData

The UAE Defence Ministry had declared its intentions to buy these missiles in November last year. The purchase will make the Gulf nation the defence system’s first export customer.

The Cheongung II M-SAM system will be developed according to the operational requirements of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence.

Developed to replace South Korea’s MIM-23 HAWK systems, the weapon system is considered an important element of the nation’s multi-layered anti-missile programme.

This missile features a ‘hit-to-kill’ technology and can intercept hostile missiles at altitudes below 40km.

Each M-SAM battery includes four launchers to carry a total of eight missiles, a multifunction radar and a command post vehicle.