Korean weapons in demand in Europe following Russia’s Ukraine invasion

2022.05.16 13:44:25 | 2022.05.16 13:45:07

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Demand for South Korean weapons has picked up after Russian invasion of Ukraine and is expected to bring about exports of over 2 trillion won ($1.56 billion) for the first time in six years.

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), a South Korean aerospace and defense firm, said on Sunday that it participated in the International Defense Exhibition Bratislava (IDEB) 2022 in Slovakia to showcase its FA-50, a light combat aircraft, and promote the system as the nation’s advanced trainer and light attack aircraft. The light combat version of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer gains attention in international markets because it can function for advanced training and light attack simultaneously. KAI also displayed the KF-21 Fighter and the Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) in the exhibition, ready for mass production after development and pilot-testing.

Participants in the international event from East European countries, including Poland, Hungry, and the Czech Republic, showed strong interest in KAI’s hi-tech aircraft.

Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, other neighboring countries have been enhancing weapons systems for defense purposes.

Hyundai Rotem has been in talks with countries adjacent to Russia, such as Norway and Poland, to market K2 Black Panther, a next-generation battle tank. The state-of-the-art tank is priced much lower than its rivals in the same category such as the United States’ MI Abrams and Germany’s Leopard 2. Hanwha Defense’s K9 Self-propelled Howitzer is deployed in Norway, Finland, and Estonia, and Australia could be the next.

The consortium of LIG Nex1 and Hanwha signed a deal worth 4.3 trillion won with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to export the KM-SAM, the medium-range surface-to-air missile system, in January and is in negotiations with other Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, to increase its exports.

According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the Korean defense industry achieved exports of 2.63 trillion won in 2015 and 2.73 trillion won in 2016. But since then, the country’s annual exports of weapons had stayed in the 1 trillion won range.

By Han Woo-ram and Jenny Lee

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