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KAI Night Intruder 600 VT takes off
Dae Young Kim, Seoul and Kelvin Wong, Singapore

04 October 2019

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KAI’s Night Intruder 600 VT VTOL UAV performed its first flight at the Goheung Aerospace Center in South Jeolla province. Source: KAI


Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced that the Night Intruder 600 VT vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (VTOL UAV) had successfully performed its maiden flight in South Jeolla province on 24 September.

The air vehicle is an internally funded development derived from a 600 kg-class two-seat light helicopter and is the company's first attempt at developing a VTOL UAV.

KAI officials earlier told Jane's that the Night Intruder 600 VT has an overall length of 9 m, width of 2 m, and height of 2.5 m. Although configured with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 600 kg, future development could see the air vehicle grow to over 750 kg as the programme matures.
Development of the Night Intruder 600 VT began in 2017 and it was exhibited for the first time in public at the DX Korea exhibition in November 2018. KAI then acquired a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in July and a flight permit from Busan Regional Aviation Administration in August in accordance with Aviation Safety Act to pave the way for its maiden flight.

KAI is aiming to complete the first-phase development of the air vehicle by the end of the year. Further work to advance its automatic take-off and landing system is expected to begin imminently in the second developmental phase.

Jane's earlier reported that the air vehicle is typically equipped with a chin-mounted stabilised electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) turret with high-definition daylight and thermal cameras. Other mission payloads being planned include a laser rangefinder or designator, as well as a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system.

The company is intending to pitch the Night Intruder 600 VT to meet a forthcoming Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) VTOL UAV requirement.
 

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South Korea to buy 20 more F-35 jets
By: Jeff Jeong  
5 hours ago
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A South Korean fighter pilot, left, stands near an F-35A in the 71st anniversary of Armed Forces Day at the Air Force Base in Daegu, South Korea, on Oct. 1, 2019. (Jeon Heon-kyun/AP)

SEOUL — South Korea will begin the second phase of its plan to acquire stealthy fighter jets, code-named F-X III, by acquiring 20 more F-35s, the country’s arms procurement agency has confirmed.

The Asian economic power had ordered 40 F-35As for Air Force operations under a 2014 deal worth about $6.4 billion, with the delivery of the fifth-generation fighters starting earlier this year.

“The government is preparing to launch the second phase of the F-X III in 2021 for the five years to come,” the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, said in a report to the National Assembly on Oct. 7. About $3.3 billion will go toward buying the additional Lockheed Martin-made aircraft, the report noted.

Which F-35 variant is under consideration has been a point of debate here, though multiple defense sources say the government will buy the F-35A rather than the "B" variant because of the former’s short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing capability. The STOVL ability allows the aircraft to take off and land from South Korea’s new large-deck landing ship planned for deployment in the 2030s.

“The state-funded Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, or KIDA, has concluded a study on the additional acquisition of F-35 aircraft, and the study is to suggest the introduction of more F-35As be more feasible,” a source at the Ministry of National Defense told Defense News on the condition of anonymity.

In July, the South Korean military approved a plan to construct a carrier-type landing platform helicopter ship as part of its long-term force buildup plan. The new vessel is to be refit to displace 30,000 tons, double the capacity of the previous two types with 14,500 tons of displacement.
“There are two issues [with getting] the F-35B. First, it’s more expensive than the conventional-takeoff-and-landing version. Second, the deployment of a carrier-type landing ship is far away from now,” the source said.

On Oct. 1, the Air Force showcased its F-35As for the first time since it received the fighters during an Armed Forces Day ceremony.

The service has so far brought in eight units, with five more arriving here by year’s end. Fourteen more aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to South Korea next year, according to the service.

“For its operational deployment, we are now carrying out related processes such as training pilots and maintenance technicians and the construction of facilities and relevant systems,” the service said in a report submitted to lawmakers on Oct. 10. “As a centerpiece of the country’s strategic targeting scheme against potential enemy forces, the radar-evading warplane is expected to boost operational capabilities and strengthen the readiness posture against threats from all directions.”

The F-35A can fly at a top speed of Mach 1.8 and carry top-of-the-line weapons systems such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition.

North Korea has decried the deployment of F-35 aircraft in South Korea due to the jet’s capability to evade radars and penetrate its territory. In July, Pyongyang threatened to destroy all the F-35As arriving in South Korea.

A senior North Korean official was quoted by the state-run media as saying that the North has “no other choice but to develop and test the special armaments to completely destroy the lethal weapons reinforced in South Korea.”

North Korea test-fired new short-range ballistic missiles and guided rockets in recent months. The weapons take aim at the F-35 base in particular, experts say.

The ballistic missile, identified as KN-23, appears to have been modeled after Russia’s SS-26/Iskander. It’s believed to be capable of maneuvering at different altitudes and trajectories during flight so as to evade anti-ballistic missiles.
 

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S.Korea to Build 2 Nuclear-powered Submarines
October 10, 2019

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South Korean 1800-ton attack submarine

South Korea is looking to build 2 nuclear-powered submarines and has assigned a task force to study the project.

"With longer-term perspectives to have nuclear-powered submarines, we have been running a task force of our own," the South Korean Navy said in a report presented to lawmakers for a parliamentary audit.

"As the matter will be decided in accordance with national policy, the Navy will work closely with the defense ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff," it added.

"Operating the task force does not mean that the Navy is pushing for related projects in earnest, as nothing has been decided. It is mainly collecting information regarding the matter," a Navy officer was quoted as saying by local media.

The plan to build such boats was floated as early as in 2003 as part of its long-term military build-up program. Seoul dropped the project in 2004 following its disclosure in the media.

Then in 2017, the defense ministry carried out research on the matter through private entities, which led the military to feel the necessity of the asset, according to Navy officers.

Speculations are rife that the country could develop its 3,000-ton Chang Bo Go-III submarine as a nuclear-powered one. Seoul is currently carrying out the project to build the 3,000-ton indigenous submarine by 2031, with a process to develop its system set to begin in earnest this year.
 

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Airbus pursues A400M opportunity in South Korea
16 October 2019
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Airbus Defence and Space is touting its A400M to South Korea to meet an outstanding requirement for transport aircraft. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Airbus Defence and Space (DS) is positioning its A400M transport aircraft to meet a requirement in the Republic of Korea (RoK) Air Force, the company said in a media briefing on 16 October at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX).

Johan Pelissier, head of Asia-Pacific in Airbus DS, said the potential A400M programme had received impetus given the company’s deliveries of A330-200 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft to the RoK Air Force. Following selection in 2015, Airbus DS has delivered three MRTTs – the most recent in August – with the fourth scheduled to arrive in December.

“I definitely see an increasing interest from South Korea to meet their future requirements,” said Pelissier in reference to the A400M. He added, “At this point [in] time it is more business development discussions [between Airbus DS and the RoK Air Force]. There is no request for information (RFI). [But] we see a potential need for this aircraft in the coming few years, and the RoK Air Force is interested to learn more about what the A400M can do.”

Jane’s has previously reported that the RoKAF has an outstanding requirement for strategic airlift capability. Pelissier said that while the scope of the potential procurement had not been detailed by South Korea, the requirement, given South Korea’s expansive operations and strategic needs, could be expected to cover up to eight aircraft.

Billed as a competitor to the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, Jane's has previously reported that the A400M can carry larger payloads over strategic distances, while being able to deliver them in a tactical fashion, such as onto austere landing strips. Pelissier said regional customers in the Asia-Pacific region were “expressing interested in this expanded reach and payload capacity of the aircraft”.
 

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Hyundai Heavy to Design Amphibious Assault Ship For S Korean Navy
October 16, 2019
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South Korean Dokdo amphibious assault ship: file photo by SK Navy

Hyundai Heavy Industries has won a concept design order for the South Korean Navy's amphibious assault ship that can base short-take-off-vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft such as the F-35B.

Hyundai Heavy has announced it signed an agreement with the Navy regarding the LPX-II project, the next-generation new versatile large-deck landing ship for STOVL fighter jets.

Hyundai Heavy aims to complete the concept design task by end-2020. Production schedule of the LPX-II project is not known at the moment.

Hyundai Heavy has earlier constructed the Dokdo and Marado ships under the LPX-I project. The proposed new carrier will be a considerable upgrade both in terms of size, payload and technology. In addition to helicopters, it will have a special deck to accommodate the vertically-landing F35B.
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Concept design of Great-class III Aegis Destoryer @Hyundai Heavy Industries

South Korea has ordered 40 F-35A jets, meant for its air force. It may need a complement of 10-15 F35B jets once the LPX-II carrier project gets going. The S Korean Navy has so far not announced any intention to acquire the more expensive STOVL F-35B jets.

Hyundai Heavy (HH) announced October 11 that it has signed a deal the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) a KRW 670 billion contract for product engineering and construction for the first vessel of the Gwanggaeto the Great-class III batch-II.

The vessel to be built by HH under this contract is the first of the three new Aegis destroyers that will be added to the South Korean Navy’s fleet, to be constructed in HHI’s Ulsan-based yard scheduled for delivery by 2024.
 

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South Korea to buy 120 AIM-120 missiles for US$253m

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Transmittal No: 19-51
WASHINGTON, October 17, 2019
- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Korea of (120) AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) with support for an estimated cost of $253 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has requested to buy one hundred twenty (120) AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). Also included are containers; weapon support and support equipment; spare and repair parts; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $253 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of one of the closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater. The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist the Republic of Korea in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.

This proposed sale will improve the ROK capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its stocks of medium range missiles for its F-15K, KF-16, and F-35 fleets for its national defense. The potential sale will further strengthen the interoperability between the United States and the 1ROK.

The ROK will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon of Waltham, MA. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the Purchaser and the prime contractor.

Implementation of the proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the ROK.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
 

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See KAI unveil a new export version of the Surion helo, following a fatal crash last year
October 17, 2019

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The heavily armed variant of the KUH-1 utility helicopter built by Korea Aerospace Industries was on display at the 2019 ADEX defense trade show. (Jeff Jeong/Staff)

SEOUL — After a potential helicopter deal in the Philippines fell from its reach, Korea Aerospace Industries has presented a new concept of its KUH-1 utility helicopter’s heavily armed version for the international market.

The KUH-1E, an export variant of the troop-carrying Surion helicopter, was unveiled at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, or ADEX, which is taking place Oct. 15-20.

“The KUH-1E has been in development for four years to meet the requirements of foreign customer nations,” Kim Ji-hyung, spokesman for KAI, told Defense News. “Not every country [can] afford both utility helicopters and attack helicopters. For those customers, the KUH-1E is expected to be an optimal solution.”

The South Korean company did not reveal specific target customers, but indicated the armed helicopter would be able to compete in the markets of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa.

Industry sources point to Indonesia as one of the KUH-1E targets, as the Southeast Asian nation has a requirement for 100 medium-lift helicopters and is a key arms trade partner of South Korea.

The KUH-1E mock-up on display features a weapons mount equipped with rockets, missiles and a gun pod. Stub wings mounted forward of the door can carry either Hellfire or Spike anti-tank missiles; pods for domestically built 2.75-inch rockets; and infrared-homing air-to-air missiles.

The attack version is also fitted with the Garmin G3000, a large touch-screen, glass-integrated avionics system. It can also be equipped with TACS II, the newest version of traffic collision avoidance systems. The helicopter’s nose features a three-dimensional weather radar, according to KAI. The helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight of 8,709 kilograms.
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Last year, the Philippines showed interest in buying a score of Surion helicopters as an alternative to a botched deal to procure 16 Bell EPI helicopters from Canada. But the government canceled its plan to purchase the South Korean helicopter, jointly built by Airbus Helicopters, after the fatal crash of an MUH-1, the marine variant of the Surion. Instead, the Philippines ordered Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

“The competition for the Philippines Army was affected by the crash of an MUH-1, not because of the rotorcraft’s performances,” said a KAI source involved in the Surion export project, speaking on condition of anonymity. “As the reported defects and problems have been cleared, the Surion still has competitiveness in terms of price and performances.”

Amphibious pitch
KAI also displayed at ADEX a concept for a marine attack helicopter to compete against the Bell AH-1Z Viper for a deal with the South Korean Marine Corps, which wants to buy 24 attack helicopters for amphibious assault operations.

Powered by a twin turbo-shaft engine with 1,800-plus horsepower, the marine attack version is to be armed with Lockheed Martin’s AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile; the Mistral ATAM air-to-air missile developed by MBDA; 2.75-inch non-guided/guided rockets; and the 20mm turret gun, according to KAI.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration issued a request for information early last year, but the agency hasn’t decided whether the helicopters will be purchased through a competition open to foreign offerings or only to locally developed bids.

Boeing is also vying for a contract with its AH-64 Apache model.

“The concept of the Marine Attack Helicopter on display showcases KAI will be able to meet the Marine Corps requirements,” said Kim, KAI’s spokesman. The company is conducting feasibility studies into Surion’s attack concepts.

Javier Ball, the international campaign manager for Asia at Bell, is confident the AH-1Z’s inherent shipborne operational capability will serve the Marine Corps well.

“Anybody can land on a ship, but leaving on a ship is where we think marinization comes into effect. That starts with the design of this aircraft,” Ball said in an interview with Defense News. “Aircraft designed to be operated on land can land on a ship, but they lose some capability when they try to operate aboard the ship.”

As the U.S. military and its regional allies put an emphasis on shipborne operations, the use of a common attack helicopter model for amphibious missions would benefit joint efforts, Ball added.

Light, armed and taking flight
In the meantime, a light, armed version of the Surion performed flight demonstrations during the show. Based on the Airbus H155, the Light Armed Helicopter, or LAH, is under development by KAI and Airbus Helicopters.

The LAH development is a parallel effort with the Light Civil Helicopter, or LCH. KAI plans to develop the 4.5-metric-ton LCH by 2021 and then modify it into the LAH by 2023.

KAI rolled out an LAH prototype in December, and the helo completed its maiden flight in July.

The LAH is armed with the turreted 20mm Gatling gun under its nose. The aircraft is also mounted with 70mm rockets, missile early warning systems, and laser/radar warning receivers.

KAI plans to build about 200 LAHs to replace Bell AH-1 Cobras and older MD 500 helicopters flown by the South Korean Army.
 

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South Korea’s future fighter program at risk, even as development moves along


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Korea Aerospace Industries unveiled the full-sized mock-up for the first time at the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, or ADEX.

SEOUL — South Korea’s indigenous fighter jet development program has entered the phase of prototype development following critical design review, or CDR, , according to developers.

The KF-X program for a 4.5-generation fighter, worth $7.4 billion, seeks to develop an advanced twin-engine fighter jet on par with the latest F-16 variant of Lockheed Martin by 2026, with the rollout of the first prototype happening in 2021. Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, is responsible for the systems development and integration.

During the CDR session at the end of September, members of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, examined nearly 400 kinds of technical data to see if the technologies meet the capability requirements before giving the green light to prototype development.

“The KF-X program now enters the prototype development phase as its CDR was approved,” said Jung Kwang-seon, chief of DAPA’s KF-X development team. “We will strive to develop and deploy the KF-X aircraft with advanced capabilities meeting the combat requirements.”

The jet’s full-sized mock-up was unveiled for the first time at the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, or ADEX, which is taking place from Oct. 15 to 20.

The model has six under-wing hard points: two for external fuel tanks, two laser-guided bombs, and two other IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles. Four MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles are nestled under the fuselage, while a mock-up of the Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod is mounted on the right cheek station.

KAI spokesman Kim Ji-hyung told Defense News that the KF-X is still open to U.S. missile systems. Originally, the DAPA hoped the KF-X would be equipped with U.S. armament, such as Raytheon-built AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missile, and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, but the U.S. government has yet to approve the export license of the missiles.

“It’s easy to integrate U.S. missiles into the aircraft, and we’re open to the possibility,” Kim said. “It’s just a matter of U.S. export controls of weapons systems.”

Fitted with a homegrown active electronically scanned array, or AESA, radar, the jet has a max take-off weight of 25,600 kg and a max payload of 7,700 kg, according to KAI. The jet can fly as fast as Mach 1.8 and has a cruising distance of 2,900 km.

The KF-X Block I will not have an internal weapons carriage, which is planned for subsequent production blocks. The initial version will also lack air-to-ground striking capability since the homegrown long-range air-to-ground missile is to be developed by the mid-2020s. The Korean version of the Taurus air-to-ground missile is being developed by LIG Nex1, the country’s precision guided weapons maker.

“Though it’s called a 4.5-generation aircraft, the KF-X bears similarities to the fifth-generation F-35A,” KAI said in press material. “It’s operating cost is half of the U.S. stealth jet and features high-tech maneuvering capability next to the F-35A.”

Despite development progress, there are signs of challenges in the jet fighter program, including a potential funding loophole. That’s because Indonesia, the only international partner of the KF-X, has been backtracking from its original commitment to investing 20 percent of the development costs. KAI is obliged to pay for 20 percent, and the government is to fund the remainder.

Under a 2016 deal, Indonesia is obliged to pay around $1.3 billion to acquire up to 48 jets called IF-X in Indonesia and get the transfer of fighter jet technologies.

But the South Asian nation has paid only $190 million, some 13 percent of its financial commitment, citing domestic budgetary constraints. As of July, Indonesia has funding shortfall of $250 million, according to DAPA officials.

Jakarta, instead of cash, has offered to make payment in kind, including the provision of CN235 transport aircraft produced by Indonesian Aerospace, also known as PTDI, under a license.

Indonesia also reportedly asked to renegotiate the terms of deals on the KF-X/IF-X, with a focus on getting more technology transfer from South Korea.

“It’s a thorny issue,” a DAPA source said, asking not to be named. “The two governments have been in consultations over the funding issue but have yet to narrow a gap.”

Much attention has been on the development of the indigenous AESA radar, which experts see as the toughest challenge of the KF-X program.

In May, the DAPA announced the CDR of the AESA radar, developed by Hanwha Systems, was completed for the first production prototype to be disclosed in the second half of 2020.

Hanwha Systems, formerly known as Samsung Thales, has completed the AESA hardware with the help of Israel’s Elta Systems.

In April, airborne tests of the hardware systems were carried out with technical assistance from Italy’s Leonardo, according to Hanwha officials. The flight test bed was carried out onboard a 737-500 airplane, and the radar is to be further tested in South Korea.

“The radar is scheduled to be tested aboard an actual KF-X prototype aircraft in 2023 with the goal of completing all aspects of development by 2026,” said Jang Bo-seop, a marketing manager of Hanwha Systems.

He said the KF-X AESA has more than 1,000 transmit-receive antenna modules to perform close to the Northrop Grumman APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar that equips the F-16V.

“Developing AESA software and integrating it into the hardware is a tough task,” said a retired Air Force officer who serves as a member of DAPA’s KF-X advisory group. “There are risks down the road in spite of progress in the early development phase.”
 

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Hyundai Rotem positions for future tank opportunities
18 October 2019

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Hyundai Rotem is developing a Next Generation Main Battle Tank to replace the K2 in more than 20 years. Source: IHS Markit/Jon Grevatt

South Korean defence firm Hyundai Rotem is positioning to secure a new order to build K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). At the same time, the company is pushing ahead with plans to develop a platform that will be a future replacement for the same tank.

A company official confirmed to Jane's at the 2019 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) on 17 October that Hyundai Rotem is currently building 106 vehicles under a K2 batch-two order secured in late 2014. Delivery of these tanks has commenced and is expected to be concluded by 2021.

Batch-one K2s, which numbered 100 units, were built under a contract signed in 2011 and delivered to the RoKA from 2014.

The official added that South Korea's military procurement agency - the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) - is considering a batch-three programme, possibly from 2020. The number of vehicles to be built under this phase is not confirmed but is likely to be another 100 or so units.

The official said that a target in future K2 orders is to indigenise the platform's power systems.

Batch-one tanks were fitted with a German MTU 883 V12 common rail diesel engine developing 1,500hp, coupled to a Renk fully automatic transmission with five forward and three reverse gears. Batch-two tanks integrate a local engine - a Doosan DV27K powerpack - and the Renk transmission.

The Hyundai Rotem official said local industry is aiming to develop a transmission system that can be integrated into batch-three orders.
Jane's has previously reported that the RoKA requirement could eventually reach about 600 units to replace its ageing inventories of US-made M48 Patton tanks and older versions of the K1 MBT, which have been in service since the 1980s. The K1 and an updated version of the tank, the K1A1, were also produced by Hyundai Rotem
 

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Hanwha Defense unveils new amphibious assault vehicle
18 October 2019

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Hanwha Defense is developing a new version of its Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle (KAAV).

South Korean company Hanwha Defense has unveiled a scale model of its next-generation tracked amphibious assault vehicle at the 2019 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX).

The Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle II (KAAV II) is currently being developed for the Republic of Korea (RoK) Marine Corps, said YoungHo Koo, team leader of propulsion and suspension in the Hanwha Defense KAAV II programme group.

The new platform is intended to replace around 200 of the first version of the KAAV currently in operation with the RoK Marine Corps, he said. The KAAV is based on the AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicle.

Koo said initial development of the KAAV II, which is supported by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD), is scheduled to be completed by 2022. At that stage Hanwha Defense will hand over to the ADD two prototypes for trials - one for land trials and one for sea trials.

Koo added that second-stage development of the KAAV II will take place between 2023 and 2028, leading to the start of mass production in 2029. Hanwha Defense plans to build the platform at its production facilities in Changwon.

Koo added that the majority of the vehicle will be built by local industry, although the engine and transmission will be imported, at least initially. The engine will be sourced from Germany's MTU, while Canadian company Kinetics Drive Solutions - a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering - will provide the transmission.
 

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Lockheed Martin progresses F-35 offset projects in South Korea
18 October 2019
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South Korean industry is advancing capability through its involvement in offsets and collaboration projects linked to the country’s acquisition of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter aircraft. Source: Lockheed Martin

Key Points
  • US corporation engages with local industry on KFX technology transfers
  • South Korean firms also expanding involvement in F-35 component sustainment
Lockheed Martin is in the process of fulfilling its expansive defence offset obligations linked to the US government's sale of F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).

Steve Over, director of F-35 international business development at Lockheed Martin, told Jane's on 17 October that offset projects to provide a military communications satellite solution and technology transfers to support the development of South Korea's next-generation KFX fighter aircraft are currently under way. South Korea agreed to procure 40 F-35s in September 2014 for about USD7 billion.

Speaking at the 2019 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), Over said that the RoKAF's F-35 procurement programme "had very specific [offset] requirements, resulting in a couple of rather large projects for us in Korea".

He added, "A military communications satellite was one of their requirements…. We [also] had a requirement to satisfy some amount of technology transfers associated with KFX, which we are in the process of fulfilling right now. That work is progressing well."

Over confirmed that in supporting the technology transfers Lockheed Martin is collaborating with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the prime contractor on the KFX.

It was previously reported that South Korea's offset requirement on the F-35 programme included the provision of a military communications satellite, which will be fully owned and operated by the government. Offset covers the provision of the satellite, launching, orbit positioning, and technical training to operate the satellite.

In addition, the United States has granted approvals to support Lockheed Martin's transfer to South Korea of 21 technology suites to support the KFX. These suites include flight control technologies, avionics, system integration, materials, and unspecified weaponry.
 

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Forty Percent of S.Korea’s Military Installations Exposed by Google Maps
October 21, 2019
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A South Korean lawmaker on Sunday accused Google Maps of exposing 40 percent of country’s military installations as satellite images, including crucial fighter wings.

“About 40 percent of all military installations here are exposed as satellite images on Google Maps,” Rep. Park Kwang-on of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea said, citing a document received from Ministry of National Defense.

Google has reportedly been ignoring South Korean government’s request of blurring sensitive data from the satellite map since the early 2000s.

“Exterior regulations should be established to prevent such foreign companies from exposing information that could threaten the security of the country,” Rep. Park was quoted as saying by local media.

Seoul-based portal sites such as Naver delete all information considered as state secret from their map services. “Google, however, uses servers outside of Korea and is not subject to Korean law,” the lawmaker said.

The facilities revealed include the Air Force’s 17th Fighter Wing, where F-35A stealth fighters are stationed, and the 15th Special Activity Wing, where the airport for presidential aircraft and state guests is located. The exact number of installations exposed has not been revealed because it is a military secret.
 

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Six Russian Warplanes Intrude into S.Korean Air Defense Zone, Driven Back
October 22, 2019
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South Korean fighters were scrambled to intercept six Russian warplanes that intruded its Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) on Tuesday.

An A-50 early-warning aircraft, three SU-27 fighter jets and two TU-95 bombers entered the KADIZ four times without prior notice. Seoul deployed around 10 fighters, including F-15K and KF-16 jets to track and send warning messages to force them out, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

The aircraft stayed in the zone for about four hours in total before leaving, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The warplanes breached the KADIZ over waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula, including the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo and the island of Ulleung in the East Sea; above the southern city of Pohang and the island of Jeju and areas in the Yellow Sea.

But none of the aircraft violated South Korea's territorial airspace, the JCS said.

Earlier this month, reports suggested that South Korea was planning to sign an agreement to establish a direct military hotline with Russia in order to share military flight information and prevent any accidental airspace violation by month-end.

The latest violation brought the total number of entries by Russian aircraft into KADIZ so far this year to 20.

Following the incident, the defense ministry lodged a strong complaint with Russia, and urged Russia to come up with measures to prevent recurrences, according to ministry officials.
 

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South Korea calls for 'mutually acceptable' defense cost deal with U.S.
OCT. 25, 2019
By Yonhap News Agency

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The United States and South Korea are negotiating the costs of stationing U.S. troops on the peninsula. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- South Korea called for a "mutually acceptable" deal in its latest defense cost-sharing talks with the United States in Hawaii this week, Seoul's foreign ministry said Friday.

Seoul made the call during the negotiations on how much it would pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea this year and beyond. The allies wrapped up the two-day talks in Honolulu on Thursday.

Ahead of the negotiation, Seoul stressed it would take a "fair, equitable" share amid Washington's calls for a hefty rise in its spending under the Special Measures Agreement, a bilateral cost-sharing deal.

"Through the consultations this time, our side stressed that the allies should reach a mutually acceptable agreement in a direction that strengthens the alliance and their combined defense posture," the ministry said in a press release.

It added that the two sides plan to hold the next round of negotiations in Seoul next month, though a specific date has not yet been decided.
South Korea's top negotiator, Jeong Eun-bo, and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, apparently discussed a range of sensitive issues, including the duration of the new SMA and what specific items will be included in the new agreement.

The allies have been under pressure to renew the SMA, as the current deal is set to expire Dec. 31.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper renewed that position Thursday, saying there can be "no free riders" when it comes to common defense.

"There can be no free riders to our shared security. Regardless of geographic location, size or population all must do their part to deter war and defend the alliance," he told an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund policy think tank in Brussels. "We are only as strong as the investments we are willing to make toward our common defense."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also made similar remarks in an interview with a local newspaper.

"I think it's important for people to understand that other countries have to step up too. Other countries must share the burden for not just the security of the world but security for their own countries," he said.

Seoul has suggested a "reasonable and equitable" share in response to Washington's call to pay more for the expenses.

"Our government's basic position is that the defense cost-sharing negotiations should proceed within the framework of the SMA that we have maintained throughout the past 10 SMA deals," Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told a press conference Thursday.

This year's SMA, signed in March, requires South Korea to pay $886 million, an increase of 8.2 percent from the previous year.

Since 1991, Seoul has shouldered partial costs under the SMA -- for Korean civilians hired by the USFK, the construction of military facilities to maintain the allies' readiness and other forms of support.
 

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Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod Completes Fit Check on KAI FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft
October 26, 2019
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Lockheed Martin’s Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) successfully completed its fit check on the FA-50 platform, marking a significant step in the pod’s aircraft integration, the company announced.

The FA-50 Fighting Eagle is a light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), in partnership with Lockheed Martin. It is the light combat variant of the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainer jet.

Since KAI awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to integrate Sniper ATP on its FA-50 platform, Sniper ATP has completed several key milestones. The fit check verified the engineering, physical connections, and interfaces, as well as validated upload and download procedures of the pod.

Sniper will continue to go through various tests that will verify areas like electromagnetic interference, laser mask zone and aircraft transfer alignment parameters, all concluding with a flight test.

Lockheed Martin is on track to complete the integration of Sniper ATP on the FA-50 by August 2020 and achieve full certification by the end of 2020.
Sniper ATP provides an affordable and interoperable targeting pod solution for the FA-50 platform. The product offers capability enhancements like high-resolution imagery for precision targeting and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It detects, identifies, automatically tracks and laser-designates small tactical targets at long ranges and supports the employment of laser-guided and GPS-guided weapons against multiple fixed and moving targets.

Sniper ATP is the most widely deployed targeting system for fixed-wing aircraft in use by U.S. forces and is also the targeting system of choice for many international allies across multiple platforms.
 

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