The South Korean shipbuilding giant, Hanwha Ocean, has just announced a $1.5 billion investment strategy to position itself in a global market currently dominated by Europeans.
In 2012, South Korean exports of defense equipment peaked at $2.3 billion for only 7 customers, including Turkey which alone represented 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 geometric growth are largely due to the numerous contracts signed in recent years by South Korean manufacturers for armored vehicles.
The success of South Korean armor
Indeed, the K2 Black Panthe r, K21 Redback, K239 Chunmoo and especially the K9 Thunder self-propelled gun , have enjoyed dazzling success in recent years. To do this, they could rely on several exclusive and concomitant assets.
First, South Korean armored vehicles are in many areas the most advanced or the most recent on the market today. Let us recall, in fact, that until recently, both Americans and Europeans, the traditional players in the armored vehicle market in the West, had largely abandoned this area to turn towards lighter and more mobile systems, better meeting the needs of external operations in Africa or the Middle East.
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 advantages of South Korean armor
The K2 Black Panthe r 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.
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