SEOUL – South Korea announced a series of contracts to develop and deploy indigenous unmanned and robotic systems to move to smaller but smarter armed forces with high tech technologies.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on December 9th that it had signed a contract with LIG Nex1, a precision guided missile manufacturer in the country, to develop an underwater mine detector for naval operations. The order is worth around $ 11 million.
Equipped with a supersonic camera and sonar, the underwater system can self-drive for more than 20 hours to find mines and monitor the possible infiltration of the enemy. It can also collect topographical information for rescue operations, the agency said in a press release.
The underwater robotic detector could help cut time and minimize losses during naval operations on mines and explosives, the agency added. Currently, the South Korean Navy uses sonar systems on manned ships to find mines or explosives that are removed by underwater disposal teams.
“It is expected that the Navy’s anti-mine capabilities will be enhanced to a greater extent with this self-moving underwater robot,” said Won Ho-jun, head of DAPA’s unmanned systems division.
The DAPA also signed contracts with local defense companies to introduce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of a rapid acquisition process.
The agency announced on December 2 that it would purchase three types of UAVs – a suicide drone, a rifle-armed assault drone, and a small drone for reconnaissance and offensive operations – with an investment of around $ 2.5 billion.
Under the fast-track acquisition program, the military is expected to purchase defense equipment for pilot operations over a period of up to six months before finalizing full procurement contracts.
According to DAPA, the suicide drone was built by the drone manufacturer “Datz Corporation”. The handy drone is a consumable drone that can be used when soldiers sneak into hostile areas. Since four such aircraft with foldable rotor arms fit into a backpack carried by soldiers, troops can launch them quickly. This is often referred to as the “fire-and-forget” platform.
UMAC Air has developed a 5.56mm K2 rifle drone. The rifle is stabilized as the drone is supposed to absorb recoil. Equipped with an electronic optical camera with high magnification zoom, the drone can identify and track targets in the distance.
The multifunctional drone called Direct Collision Strike Drone was developed by LIG Nex1. It is known that with the help of infrared cameras and a laser rangefinder, the drone can destroy targets with great accuracy. It’s a hybrid UAV with fixed wings and booms that have four rotors mounted on them that allow it to take off vertically.
“The rapid acquisition project aims to apply the rapidly evolving new private sector technology to the military,” said DAPA Commissioner Wang Jung-hong. “It is expected to be an innovative model for enhancing the defense capabilities of the armed forces.”