Hanwha Defense, a leading defense company in South Korea, is showing state-of-the-art unmanned defense systems during the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which opened for a five-day run on February 21.
During the biennial arms fair in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the Hanwha Group division presented the prototype of the unmanned multipurpose ground vehicle (MPUGV) for the first time at an overseas exhibition.
The development of MPUGV was completed in 2019 as part of a government project to develop unmanned robotics to support infantry troops in various combat situations.
The 4 × 4 vehicle runs on electricity and can travel on paved roads at a top speed of 30 km / h. On the battlefield, the 1.5-ton vehicle is operated either remotely or autonomously to carry out various missions such as surveillance, logistics transport, evacuation of victims and combat operations.
The vehicle has a payload of 200 kg and can run for 14 hours on a single charge. With a range extender, the operating time can be increased up to 72 hours.
The MPUGV is the first of its kind in the country to pass field tests and assessments. During the Korean Army’s pilot operations of the robotic combat vehicle from 2019 to 2020, the vehicle successfully demonstrated its intelligent mission capabilities, including follow-me; self-propelled; Waypoint navigation; Obstacle avoidance; Single bed module for victims; and communication relay with a drone.
The vehicle also has a high-end remotely controlled weapon station that uses acoustic sensors to automatically detect targets to determine the source of gunfire during the confusion of combat.
An upgrade version of the MPUGV should come onto the market in the third quarter of this year. The new version is a 6 × 6 vehicle with improved performances in terms of payload capacity, top speed, range, survivability, etc.
The 6 × 6 MPUGV is a modular vehicle that offers multiple functions to meet various mission requirements such as: B. Cargo transport, detection of chemicals and mines, remote-controlled double weapon station (RCWS) as well as reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition.
The lightweight RCWS built by Hanwha Defense also made its international debut during the defense fair in the UAE.
The variant of the 130 kg class was developed for integration in tanks, armored vehicles and light tactical vehicles and can be equipped with either the K6 or K4 machine gun.
Hanwha Defense is the only company in South Korea that develops and produces its own RCWS, and has received orders to build them for the high-speed patrol vessels and amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Navy and Marine Corps.
Among other Hanwha Defense products that are set to attract the attention of the global defense industry is the K9 self-propelled howitzer; the ammunition supply vehicle K10; the REDBACK Infantry Fighting Vehicle; the armored TIGON 6 × 6 wheeled vehicle; and the hybrid BIHO short-range air defense system.
Variants of the K9 SPH with a caliber of 155 mm / 52 are operated by six countries – Turkey, Poland, Finland, India, Norway and Estonia. The South Korean Armed Forces completed the use of the advanced artillery systems in 2020 and are planning improvements to the automation and firing range of the artillery.
In September 2020, Hanwha Defense Australia was selected with the K9 as the preferred supplier for the Australian Army’s LAND 8116 self-propelled howitzer acquisition program. As part of the project, the Australian Army is to acquire 30 “Huntsman” K9 howitzers and K10 armored ammunition replenishment vehicles.
REDBACK is one of the final two candidates for the Commonwealth of Australia’s high-profile LAND 400 Phase 3 project, which aims to introduce 450 future-oriented infantry combat vehicles.
TIGON is a new type of armored wheeled vehicle that has been developed primarily for overseas markets. The vehicle has independent suspension and a top speed of 100 km / h. It weighs 21 tons and can carry 11 troops. The South Korean Army is operating the armored personnel carriers in a pilot program to check their field performance.
The hybrid BIHO cannon and missile air defense system is widely recognized as one of the most effective short-range air defense systems capable of intercepting infiltrating air targets at low altitude, including unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as airplanes and helicopters.
Equipped with an advanced surveillance radar, the air defense artillery can attack targets with both the 30mm twin machine gun and surface-to-air missiles.
“Hanwha Defense has a variety of defense products that meet the requirements in the Middle East and Africa,” said An Byung-chul, director of Hanwha Defense International. “I’m sure we can offer optimal defense solutions to customers in the region in order to expand our global presence.”