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LIG Nex1 unveils Sea Sword 3 USV

South Korean defence contractor LIG Nex1 unveiled the latest iteration of its unmanned surface vehicle (USV) family, Hae Gum 3 (Sea Sword 3), at the Defense and Security Expo Korea (DX Korea) 2020 exhibition in Seoul in mid-November.

Sea Sword 3 is being developed under a civilian-military technology co-operation project led by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) Institute of Civil-Military Technology Cooperation (ICMTC).

LIG Nex1 has expanded its Sea Sword family of USVs with a third vehicle. (Dae Young Kim)

LIG Nex1 has expanded its Sea Sword family of USVs with a third vehicle. (Dae Young Kim)

The USV has been optimised for coastal operations and can be used to perform various types of missions with the appropriate mission equipment, including a surveillance and reconnaissance suite. It will also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-driven autonomous navigation/obstacle avoidance technology.

The displacement and physical characteristics of the Sea Sword 3 USV are understood to be comparable with that of the Sea Sword 2. Janes earlier reported that the latter – which features a displacement of 11 tonnes – has an overall length of 12 m and a 3.5 m beam. However, Sea Sword 3 can optionally carry up to eight personnel, while Sea Sword 2 can only accommodate up to two personnel.

In terms of armament, Sea Sword 3 is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and a 2.75 inch calibre guided rocket launcher towards the stern, unlike the preceding Sea Sword 1 and 2 designs.

LIG Nex1 representatives told Janes that the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) operates several types of patrol boats for coastal security and reconnaissance missions, and is positioning the Sea Sword 3 to replace these.

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