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South Korea to develop shipborne surveillance UAVs, amphibious attack helicopters

A KAI Marine Attack Helicopter (MAH) model shown at the ADEX 2021 exhibition featuring MUM-T capabilities. South Korea's DAPA announced on 27 December that the country will develop its own amphibious assault helicopter for the RoKMC, as well as new shipborne surveillance and reconnaissance UAVs for the RoKN and possibly the RoKMC. (Korea Aerospace Industries)

South Korea has formally approved draft plans to indigenously develop shipborne surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and amphibious attack helicopters, the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 27 December.

The Defense Project Promotion Committee said that the shipborne UAV project, which is slated to begin in 2023 and be completed by 2031, had been provisionally budgeted at KRW570 billion (USD475.4 million), according to DAPA.

The new UAVs, which will be operated onboard the Republic of Korea Navy's (RoKN's) KDX-II destroyer, will enhance the country's capabilities to monitor in real time maritime areas and the north-western islands near the inter-Korean border, and to respond to potential security threats promptly and effectively, DAPA said.

Although the agency only mentions the RoKN destroyers, the new UAVs could be used also by RoK Marine Corps (RoKMC) units deployed on frontline islands.

The committee earmarked KRW450 billion (USD375.3 million) between 2022 and 2026 for the indigenous development of amphibious attack helicopters for the RoKMC. The aircraft is aimed at enhancing the service's amphibious assault capabilities, particularly in the north-western islands, by providing aerial fire support to ground combat units during amphibious operations, among other things, DAPA said.

No further details were provided. However, Janes

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