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Next-generation armored vehicles to be deployed by 2008
June 17, 2005
The Defense Ministry said on May 17 that it has developed a prototype of a state-of-the-art amphibious armored vehicle equipped with guided missiles and laser warning system.
The new armored vehicle, called the Korea Next Infantry Fighting Vehicle (KNIFV), will be deployed in the military starting 2008, as part of the ministry's mid- to long-term weapons buildup program, Choi Chang-kon, a researcher at the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), said in a media briefing.
The ADD, a state-funded research institute, and other domestic companies including Doosan Infracore launched a weapons development project in December 1999, Choi said. The government will spend 91 billion won ($90.2 million) by 2006 for the development of the KNIFV, he said.
"The new armored vehicles have far better capabilities than the K-200s which the military is currently operating," Choi said. "It is also superior to the U.S. M2 Bradley and Russia's BMP-3."
The 25-ton vehicle, which has a seating capacity of 12, is equipped with sophisticated anti-tank missiles, a 40mm anti-aircraft gun and a 7.62mm machine gun, he said. It can move in the water with the help of an automatic airbag system on both sides of the vehicle.
The fighting vehicle is also equipped with a high-tech identification system, dubbed the "friend or foe" system, using an ultraviolet sensor to detect the approach of enemy airplanes, Choi said.
"We expect the KNIFV would be in high demand among Middle East and Southeast Asian countries because of its accessible price of $2.5 million and superior capabilities as compared to foreign vehicles," he said. The 33-ton M2 Bradley and 18.7-ton BMP-3 cost some $4.5 million.
A ceremony marking the production of three KNIFV prototypes will take place at a plant of Doosan Infracore in Changwon, capital of South Gyeongsang Province, on May 19, according to the ADD.