SEOUL -- Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA), a Norwegian supplier of defense and space-related systems and products, has established a strategic partnership with Hyundai Rotem, the producer of South Korea's main battle tank, K2 Black Panther, to develop unmanned turrets and drone protection systems to be installed in next-generation tanks and wheel-type armored vehicles.
KDA products such as digital integrated systems would be applied to Hyundai Rotem's K2 tanks and K808 wheeled armored personnel carriers. The K2 tank has combined an auto-loaded 120 mm main gun and advanced composite armor with hard and soft-kill active protection systems. The K808 vehicle is provided with a remotely controlled weapon station armed with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher or 12.7 mm machine gun.
Hyundai Rotem, which aims to develop fourth-generation tanks, thinks that KDA's technology will help increase competitiveness by developing advanced operating systems for tanks and armored vehicles. "Through the signing of this cooperation agreement. we will be able to develop and apply powerful high-tech operating systems needed to strengthen the performance of ground weapon systems more quickly and effectively," an unnamed Hyundai Rotem official said in a statement on September 28.
Together with KDA, Hyundai Rotem vowed to strengthen the competitiveness of its defense products in overseas markets. The partnership with KDA comes as Hyundai Rotem is trying to sell K2 tanks to Norway, which has joined the user community of Hanwha Defense's K9 Thunder, the most popular and proven tracked artillery system in the world.
Poland has signed basic deals with South Korea to acquire FA-50 light attack fighters, K2 tanks and K9s. Egypt has opened negotiations with South Korea to co-produce K2 tanks with the transfer of manufacturing technology. In Norway, K2 tanks are competing with the German-made Leopard 2A7, which is one of the best main battle tanks in the world.
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