S Korea to mass-produce indigenous armoured vehicles

Seoul, June 7 (IANS) South Korea’s arms procurement agency on Tuesday said it will mass-produce indigenous armoured vehicles from this month, aiming at improving mobility and operability of infantry troops.

The project to develop indigenous wheeled armoured combat vehicles, which was launched in December 2012, passed the final operability test on May 9, Xinhua cited the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) as saying.

Local defence company Hyundai Rotem has undertaken the project.

Mass-production of the new combat vehicles would start this month, planning to produce about 600 units by 2023. The vehicles would be deployed in both frontline and rear army units from next year.

Major armoured vehicles, operated currently by South Korea’s military, such as K200 and K21, are tracked combat vehicles that have a relatively low mobility compared with the newly-developed wheeled armoured vehicles.

The new vehicles, including K808 and K806, can drive at a maximum speed of 100 km per hour, faster than 74 km for K200 and 70 km for K21.

The K808 was designed for fast transport of infantry troops and reconnaissance missions in mountainous frontline areas, while the K806 would be used for strikes on the move and reconnaissance missions.

The agency said the new wheeled armoured vehicles can move on the ground and in waters while carrying heavy firepower, protecting infantry troops from enemy machine gun attacks while transporting them.

It has an eye to export the newly developed vehicles thanks to price competitiveness compared with similar vehicles developed in the US, Germany and the Netherlands, the agency said.



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