South Korea approves foreign purchases but pushes local defense industry with US$21.27bn programs, says GlobalData

Following the news that South Korea has approved three defense projects on 26 June 2020;

Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“South Korea’s approval for the purchase of these systems shows not only the increased dependence on surveillance in modern warfare, but also the need to invest in systems to ensure proper training for the effective use of a military. 

“The projects planned to conclude by 2027 will add up to US$21.27bn with around KRW1 trillion (US$833m) for the trainers between 2019-2024, KRW15,900bn (US$13.2bn) for the airborne early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) from abroad between 2021 -2027 and KRW8,700bn (US$7.24bn) for purchase of the Baekdu reconnaissance aircraft from 2021-2026

“Even though Korea has reduced its defense budget for this year to deal with the after effects of COVID-19, the country has been approving projects with the vision of its long- term strategic interests in mind. This was seen with the country moving forward with the KDDX project announced on the 29 May 2020.

“In the KDDX project, we saw the country pushing for local industry to drive the development of the program. Here too, we see that same push with the development of the TA-50 trainers, and the work for the Baekdu aircraft. The addition of the AEW&C systems does not take away from the belief that local development is hindered, this purchase can be expected to have further support from local industry for the life of the platform with further developments in avionics being developed locally.”

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