SEOUL, (BM) – The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea plans to purchase over a dozen different models of military equipment in the coming months. Among them, there are various types of UAV and land unmanned systems to be designed and manufactured by the domestic industry, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
According to the local media [including the Korea Herald], these actions are aimed at better preparing the South Korean armed forces for the dynamically changing conditions of the present and future battlefield, in which unmanned systems play an increasingly important role.
The South Korean defense procurement agency DAPA [Defense Acquisition Program Administration] has announced that it plans to release, as part of the project started in May this year. the so-called rapid adoption, by 2021, approximately USD 22.75 million for 12 new weapon systems using the latest technologies, including unmanned and autonomous systems.
These include circulating ammunition systems, reconnaissance and combat unmanned aerial vehicles, armed and universal unmanned land platforms, intelligent anti-jamming systems and the new battlefield management system [BMS]. Proceedings for their acquisition have already started and in the coming months it is planned to select specific solutions and suppliers who will deliver these systems to the South Korean army in the middle of next year. In the first stage of the program, DAPA was to purchase the first four advanced weapon systems. Among them, there are two models of unmanned aerial vehicles, small unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and portable anti-drone systems.
According to the head of DAPA, Wang Jung-hong, his agency plans in the near future to continue work on improving the existing procedures for acquiring weapons and equipment for the domestic armed forces in order to further reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency. Such a fast pace of programs and planned deliveries is caused by the necessity defined by the military to quickly implement the latest technologies in the line service in order to maintain the current and further development of the combat potential.
South Korea has begun assembling its first fifth-generation fighter
As we reported on September 5 South Korea has been working hard to manufacture and build the first fifth-generation fighter produced entirely by the South Korean defense industry.
The KF-X is the South Korean prototype of the fifth generation fighter, and according to the Seoul Defense Industry Program Agency, the production line of this fighter is running at full capacity and has started production of the first prototype. This information was also reported by the official authorities in Seoul.
Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is the manufacturer of the aircraft and, as we have repeatedly mentioned, it is expected to be completed in 2021, by the end of 2026 to complete all possible tests. So far, according to official information provided by the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the state has invested approximately $ 7.3 billion, and funding continues.
South Korea will be the next country on the map of countries that produce their own fifth-generation fighters. We know that the leaders so far are the United States with their F-35s and F-22s, as well as the fact that Washington is already working hard on a sixth-generation fighter project. Backwards and at a slower pace, Russia is doing the same, while China has already launched two fifth-generation fighters, but the difference is largely in the crew needed to fly them. Turkey and Europe are also developing their own version of fighters of the same class, but they are significantly behind. It turns out that South Korea will be the next country to show the world its plane.
According to information from the KAI, the South Korean fighter will be in two versions – one-seater and two-seater, as in China. The aircraft will be 16.9 meters long and the wingspan 11.2 meters. The height is expected to be about 4.7 meters and the maximum weight – nearly 25 tons. The initial technical characteristics suggest that the KF-X will fly at close to Mach 2 and will receive 10 points for the suspension of equipment – missiles, bombs, outboard containers and more.
If all goes according to plan, the South Korean forces will acquire nearly 120 units of the new fighter by mid-2032. Of course, by then other military forces would have sixth-generation aircraft, but KF-X will be the basis for Seoul to begin in the next 5 years to work in this direction as well.
In both the United States and South Korea, the development of this fighter is carried out according to the American scheme – Block 1, Bock 2, etc. According to preliminary planning, Block 1 will be produced until 2028, and Block 2 will enter the South Korean military next year – 2029, and this model will not be limited in its combat capabilities, at the expense of Bock 1. According to South Korean scientists, the radar system or radar station will be an active phased array, which we announced nearly a month ago. It will again be the work of a South Korean company – Hanwha Systems.
Seoul decided to develop its own air defense system similar to the Iron Dome
As we reported on August 10 an ambitious plan to develop its own air defense system has been launched in South Korea and is expected to be implemented within the next five years. The Minister of Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo announced today that his country aims to create a complex that will have two main goals – protection of the territorial integrity and infrastructure of the country and independence in the field of air defense.
A report by BulgarianMilitary.com shows that Seoul currently has the American M270 missile system with multiple launches, the Korean K239 Chunmoo and also the Korean but obsolete K136 Kooryong. In the field of more serious air defense, Seoul uses Cheongung or M-SAM. It is also its own medium-range missile system and developed on the basis of the Russian S-350 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.
According to the Minister of Defense, Seoul wants the future missile system to be similar to the Israeli Iron Dome. We remind you that the Israeli Iron Dome is one of the best in the world, and only a few days ago, the United States and Israel agreed to jointly develop a more optimal and efficient Israeli system.
According to Jeong Kyeong-doo, his country will invest approximately $ 253 billion in various areas of defense over the next five years, including the development of a new air defense system. We remind you that South Korea is currently developing its version of a fifth-generation fighter, and work on this aircraft has advanced. Just a few days ago, Seoul unveiled a version of the future radar that will be used by KF-X – the name of the fighter, and the program for its implementation is worth $ 8.8 billion.
“When we talk about South Korea’s missile defense system, it usually refers to one targeting North Korea’s Scud-type or stronger missiles, whereas this new interceptor system will focus on protecting the capital area against the North’s long-range artillery such as its 240- mm or 300-mm multiple rocket launchers,” a ministry official said. According to a number of military experts, as well as sources from the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the new air defense systems are likely to be put into service at the end of this decade, or early next.
Jeong Kyeong-doo also said that South Korea will not limit itself to the production of its own air defense system, but will continue in this direction and funds will be invested in the development of various types of missiles – air-to-ground and air-to-ship. “The ministry will continue to cooperate with the monetary authorities to successfully push for the 2021-2025 defense plan,” it said in a release.
Read more: Top 5 best combat drones [UAVs] in the world
Currently, there is only one THAAD air defense system located in South Korea, which was deployed in May 2017. The presence of THAAD on the territory of South Korea was at the root of the conflict with China, which sharply expressed their disagreement, fearing that in the event of military action, this system could affect Chinese territories.
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