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South Korea to invest USD13.6 billion to bolster defence capabilities in space

South Korea plans to invest KRW16 trillion (USD13.6 billion) over the next 10 years to accelerate the development of defence-related space technologies following the termination of range restrictions for the country's ballistic missiles under the US-South Korea missile guidelines agreement.

The Defense Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) in Seoul announced on 19 August that it had set up a task force in charge of drawing up a comprehensive roadmap for the programme, which is aimed at fostering the country's space defence industry in a number of areas, including systems, technologies, facilities, and infrastructure.

The project, which will also include KRW1.6 trillion for core technology research and development on military satellites, will then see this know-how transferred to local companies to eventually launch series production and meet the growing local and international demand for such satellites.

According to DAPA, South Korea plans to set up assembly and test facilities as well as defence satellite business promotion procedures, and periodically hold policy forums and space company meetings.

The DAPA-led task force, which also includes officials from the Ministry of National Defense (MND), the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), and the Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT), will also be tasked with preparing the legal and institutional groundwork, as well as handling of the associated organisational and personnel issues.

The latest developments come after the ADD revealed in August 2020 that it has been developing small synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. During an event to mark its 50th founding anniversary, the ADD stated that it had begun working on the satellites in December 2019, with development slated for completion by November 2023.

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