After tanks, South Korean defense shipbuilding will sweep across Europe

The South Korean shipbuilding giant, Hanwha Ocean, has just announced a $1,5 billion investment strategy to position itself in a global market that is currently dominated by Europeans.

In 2012, South Korean defense equipment exports peaked at $2,3 billion for only 7 customers, including Turkey, which alone accounted for more than 50% of this amount.

Ten years later, in 2022, Seoul revealed a record year for order intake, exceeding $17 billion, more than double the $7,5 billion of the previous year. This success and this geometric growth are largely due to the numerous contracts signed in recent years by South Korean manufacturers in the field of armored vehicles.

The success of South Korean armor

Indeed, K2 Black Pantherr, K21 Redback, K239 Chunmoo and especially the self-propelled gun K9 Thunder, have met with dazzling success in recent years. They could rely for this on several exclusive and concomitant assets.

First of all, South Korean armored vehicles are today in many of the most advanced or recent areas of the market. It should be remembered that until recently, Americans and Europeans alike, the traditional players in the armored vehicle market in the West, had largely abandoned this area to turn to lighter and more mobile systems, better meeting the needs of external operations in Africa or the Middle East.

k9 tank finland e1669044748865 Arms exports | Defense Analysis | South Korea
The K9 Thunder self-propelled gun was chosen by 10 armed forces, including 4 in Europe

In fact, with the notable exception of the Turkish Altay which is not yet operational, and which will only be thanks to significant technology transfers from South Korea, no new tank, nor any new system of Tracked armored artillery has been designed over the last 20 years in the West.

The strengths of South Korean armor

The K2 Black Pantherr and K9 Thunder then had before them a real commercial boulevard when global tensions and the risks of high intensity conflict, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, resurfaced.

In addition, South Korean commercial offers have often proven attractive and particularly flexible, whether in terms of rapid delivery of equipment, as well as transfers of technology and industrial capacities.

K2 Black Panther PL 01 e1670866364715 Arms exports | Defense Analysis | South Korea
Poland signed a strategic partnership with South Korea to acquire and produce several thousand armored vehicles, including a thousand K2 Black tanks Panther

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