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South Korea orders locally produced laser designators

DAPA has ordered new ground laser target designators, which will replace Scarab GLTDs, pictured above, in service with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. (L3Harris)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has signed a contract worth KRW86.7 billion (USD66 million) with local firm Hancom Lifecare to procure ground laser target designators (GLTDs).

DAPA said in late June that the project comprises the acquisition of a laser target designator, a laser rangefinder, a thermal imager, camera, and auxiliary equipment. It added that the locally manufactured equipment will replace imports.

DAPA said that Hancom will facilitate GLTD production through transfers of technologies from foreign companies including L3Harris and Leonardo DRS. The project, which also includes several local subcontractors, will reduce the weight of GLTDs while improving performance and the safety of ground personnel, DAPA added.

Neither DAPA nor Hancom gave additional details about the specifications of the new GLTDs. However, the company said the procured systems will improve the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Force's ability to operate laser-guided bombs during close air support operations. This improves target identification and precision strike capabilities, increasing the completeness and survivability of operations.

Hancom, which has traditionally produced military training systems and protective equipment, said it expects deliveries of the GLTDs to the RoK Armed Forces to be complete by October 2026. Hancom added that the project will support its expansion into new defence technology domains.

The new GLTDs will replace the RoK Army's in-service Scarab GLTDs that were procured from L3Harris. DAPA ordered an unspecified number of Scarab GLTDs from the US company L-3 in 2013 with deliveries starting from early 2015.

According to Janes C4ISR & Mission Systems: Land

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