Contemporary weapons, aerospace and defense technologies were put on display to the public in South Korea. Four days of the 12th Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 2019 (ADEX 2019) were dedicated to the Korean and foreign military equipment, advanced technologies, and well as discussions of topical issues and new military policy agreements.
The large-scale international expo of aerospace and defense industry, ADEX, is held every other year under the auspices of the Korean Defense Ministry. The expo took place at the first time in 1996 as an air show in Seoul, and in 2009 it was expanded to a full-fledged exhibition of military land vehicles and defense industry.
In 2019, ADEX brought together a record number of participants: 430 defense companies from 34 countries. Various types of aircraft, UAVs and weapons systems were put on display.
South Korea – the host country – presented strategic assets, including the project of the KF-X/IF-X fighter aircraft, which is similar to the US’s F-35A fifth-generation stealth fighter, but is more maneuverable and low-maintenance, according to its developer, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
KAI feels optimistic about international sales and plans to present new products in the next several years, such as the NI600VT unmanned helicopter (photo), in target export countries, especially in the developing markets of the Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. In the medium and long term, the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainer and light combat aircraft and the FA-50 multipurpose fighter (both of them are popular in Thailand and the Philippines) will remain KAI’s key export products. According to the Korean developers, the Surion Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), which has recently been modernized for the international market, is another promising export product.
The South Korean aerospace and defense company Huneed Technologies, a long-standing manufacturer of wireless tactical communication equipment for South Korea’s Armed Forces, showcased advanced communication technologies. The company presented the Li-Fi (Light Fidelity), an innovative wireless in-flight telecommunication technology developed by French aeronautics company Latecoere. The system utilizes optical wavelength from light emitting diodes to transmit signals, which allows for using the network with Li-Fi infrastructure available. Huneed Technologies stands presented key technologies of their Vision 2025 concept, which features military equipment for tactical communications, an AI surveillance system, and 3D printing equipment.
Hanwha Defense presented a scale model of the Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle II (KAAV II). The vehicle is being developed for the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, with its serial production to be launched in 2029.
South Korea also presented strike fighters F-15K and KF-16 and showed the Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) in action during its maiden demonstration flight.
The US military presented the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, the Saab maritime patrol aircraft, and the Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft, as well as the US military fighter aircraft F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker military aerial refueling aircraft, the MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft, the Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, and the MV-22 transport aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing. This year, the United States have chosen not to showcase its strategic stealth aircraft such as F-22 and F-35A fighters in Seoul.
During the first days of ADEX 2019, South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo and Commander of the United States Air Force’s Pacific Air Forces Charles Q. Brown Jr. told journalists they had agreed to facilitate cooperation between the two countries’ air forces for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The Russian delegation of the Russian Helicopters holding company presented a program for modernization of the Russian helicopter Ka-32 and a proposal for updating its avionics, engines and fire protection systems. According to the enterprise’s press service, the Ka-32 fleet in South Korea includes over 50 helicopters, which have been in service since the 1990s and proven highly efficient for cargo transportation, construction and assembling, search and rescue, and fire suppression efforts. The aircraft’s coaxial configuration has some serious advantages and allows for a greater controllability and maneuver capability, particularly during fire suppression efforts. The Ka-32A11VS mission equipment includes over 100 various options.
By Yekaterina Vorobyova