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South Korean military-validation scheme wins first export

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced that an initiative to boost small-company exports introduced in 2020 has registered its first success.

DAPA said on 25 February that small local firm Seju Engineering has secured a contract worth USD15 million to supply electronic fuses for 40 mm grenades to an unidentified international customer.

DAPA said the contract is the first successful overseas order that stems from its new ‘military-validation’ initiative.

Under the scheme, the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces trial and validate the performance of locally made defence products that are developed and adapted for export markets.

DAPA said Seju Engineering “was able to sign an export contract only by the fact that it carried out performance test evaluations with the RoK Armed Forces”.

The first phase of the military-validation scheme started in October 2020 through DAPA agreements with local companies covering three types of equipment: ammunition, firearms, and 4×4 and 6×6 armoured vehicles.

The new initiative is one in a series of new schemes launched by DAPA to stimulate international military sales. A major part of this push has been to leverage the competitive gains made through efforts to replace imports – especially components, systems, and subsystems – with locally developed and built products.

Emphasis on this drive has intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has highlighted South Korea’s continuing dependency on foreign technologies and gaps in industrial supply chains.

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