South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is bidding to boost defence exports through a new military-validation initiative.
DAPA said that under the scheme the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces will validate the performance of locally made defence products designed and developed for export markets.
In its effort to boost defence exports South Korea regards the Surion utility helicopter (pictured) produced by Korea Aerospace Industries as a major platform. (Korea Aerospace Industries)
In the first phase of the scheme, the RoK Army has signed an agreement with three unidentified South Korean defence firms to trial military equipment including 4×4 and 6×6 armoured vehicles, said DAPA. This trial will commence on 20 October.
DAPA said, “When exporting weapon systems, the customer places importance on the presence or absence of the RoK Armed Forces’ operational experience with the system in terms of reliability and performance.”
It added that the validation initiative was recommended by local companies, represented by the Korea Defense Industry Association (KDIA), trying to secure exports and that the new RoK Army agreement is the first scheme under the project. “Through this initiative, the RoK Armed Forces plays a role in supporting defence exports,” said DAPA.
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced in July that the country’s defence exports in 2019 were valued at KRW1.77 trillion (USD1.5 billion), a year-on-year decline of 11.5%.
The country’s defence exports were historically valued at only about USD200 million but after the MND established DAPA in 2006 this climbed to more than USD3 billion a year during 2013–17.