The South Korean defence forces and local industry and are once again showcasing their latest developments at the country’s premier land warfare exhibition, Defense Expo Korea (DX Korea), which is being held from 21 to 25 September in the KINTEX exhibition centre in Goyang city.
DX Korea 2022 – which is in its fifth iteration – is co-organised by the DX Korea committee and Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), and hosted by the Association of the Republic of Korea Army (ARoKA) with the support of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DTaQ), Ministry of National Defense (MND), Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT) and the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
Other supporting organisations include the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), as well as the Korea Defense Industry Association (KDIA).
According to statistics provided by the DX Korea committee, DX Korea 2022 features 28,160 m2 of exhibition floor space and 210 participating companies. In contrast, the inaugural event in 2014 was only 11,290 m2 in size and involved 104 firms.
Speaking to a largely domestic media audience on 20 September, Colonel Kim Sung-Jin, Head of Defence Support, noted that the event – one of the handful dedicated to land forces – can play a role in helping the South Korea establish itself as a competitive international defence supplier, with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine having an outsized effect on its recent export successes.
Indeed, Seoul is hoping to ride on the wave of its recent contracts worth over US$14 billion with Poland, a groundbreaking deal that includes Hanwha Defense K9 Thunder 155 mm calibre self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs), as well as Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 light attack aircraft, along with significant technology transfer and local production.
The achievement is bringing more attention to Korean-made military equipment and has even prompted President Yoon Suk-yeol to declare in August an ambitious plan to make South Korea one of the world’s top four defence suppliers.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), South Korea is currently ranked eighth in the world in defence export volume from 2017 to 2021, with the United States, Russia, France, and China occupying the top four positions.
DX Korea 2022 is anchored by South Korea’s leading defence technology developers, including the Hanwha Defense – now widely acknowledged as the country’s largest and most diversified defence company with a comprehensive portfolio with successful platforms such as the K21 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), the Hybrid Bi Ho self-propelled anti-aircraft gun/missile system, the Chun Ma surface-to-air missile system, and the K9 self-propelled howitzer with its attendant K10 ammunition resupply vehicle.
Besides Hanwha, other indigenous developers include Kia Motors, which is displaying its range of tactical and utility vehicles as well as its latest fuel-cell electric vehicle technology (FCEV), as well as Hyundai Rotem which is showcasing updated versions of its K2 main battle tank (MBT) and K808/KW2 Wheeled Armoured Vehicle (WAV) with active protection system (APS). The K808 on display is also equipped with TenCate’s Liba Add-on Armour.
Unlike most other international defence exhibitions, the DX Korea series feature a live fire and manoeuvre demonstration by the RoKA, with the 2022 edition featuring 19 types of military vehicles and equipment at the service’s Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, some 65 km northeast of Seoul.
Live ordnance fired include the indigenously developed LIG Nex1 AT-1K Raybolt (Hyeongung) anti-tank guided missile, clearly inspired by the startling success of its foreign counterparts against Russian armour in Ukraine.
by Jr Ng