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South Korea finalises USD46.32 billion defence budget for 2022

Janes Defence Budgets forecasts relatively strong growth in South Korea's total defence budget during the next few years. These totals include South Korea's spending on pensions and welfare as well as special funds for base relocation and construction. (Janes Defence Budgets)

South Korea's defence budget for 2022 has been finalised at KRW54.61 trillion (USD46.32 billion), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul announced.

The MND said the new expenditure, approved by the National Assembly on 3 December, is a 1% decline on the KRW55.23 trillion it requested in August but a 3.4% increase over the country's defence budget in 2021.

The increase is lower than in previous years and reflects the country's slowing economy but a requirement to bolster defence capability in response to North Korean military modernisation.

Earlier this year, Pyongyang announced a five-year programme to develop a range of capabilities including nuclear-powered submarines, tactical nuclear weapons, hypersonic glide vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Contained in South Korea's approved 2022 defence budget is KRW37.91 trillion for military operations and KRW16.69 trillion for force modernisation. These figures, compared with expenditures in 2021, represent a 5.8% increase and a 1.8% decline respectively.

The MND attributed the reduction in the force modernisation expenditure to cuts in the budget deliberation process to projects to construct accommodation facilities and procure infantry equipment, unmanned systems, and vehicles.

According to the MND, high-profile modernisation programmes to receive funding include those to develop the CVX light aircraft carrier (KRW7.2 billion), small satellite systems (KRW11.2 billion), and LIG Nex1's Long-range Surface-to-Air Missile system (KRW18.9 billion).

The MND did not reference Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI's) programme to develop the KF-21 fighter aircraft. However, in the MND's 2022 budget proposal, this project was to receive KRW454 billion.

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