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South Korea starts production of MUAV

Production of the MUAV will allow South Korea to significantly enhance its unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. (Janes/DAPA/South Korea MND/Photo by Amit Kalra)

South Korea has started production of its domestically developed Medium-Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MUAV).

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said on 25 January that the induction of the MUAV will enhance the Republic of Korea (RoK) military's critical reconnaissance capabilities. The MUAV “will improve the surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of our armed forces and contribute to the increase in defence exports in the future”, Kim Tae-gon, head of DAPA's Advanced Technology Division, said.

Production of the UAV was launched during a meeting held at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in Busan on 24 and 25 January, according to DAPA. In attendance were representatives from DAPA, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), the RoK Air Force (RoKAF), and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), DAPA added.

The plan is to deliver the MUAVs sequentially to the RoKAF, DAPA said. The agency said that ADD had signed a contract with Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD), LIG Nex1, and Hanwha Systems on 21 December 2023 to initiate production of the UAV.

The three companies were involved in the research and development of the UAV, with KAL-ASD serving as the primary contractor since 2008. KAL-ASD designates the MUAV as the KUS-FS. While specifics about the production plan have not been revealed, DAPA said that the total project cost is KRW471.1 billion (USD352.4 million).

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