*ADD生產的K11空爆步槍。它由一個半自動20毫米智慧榴彈發射器組成。(工業和資訊化部電子科學技術情報研究所 劉 娜)
S. Korea May Lease U.S. MRAPs for Afghan Mission
By JUNG SUNG-KI
Published: 9 Dec 2009 12:26
SEOUL - South Korea is discussing with the U.S. military a plan to lease or buy 10 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to protect the 320 troops it will deploy to Afghanistan next year, the Ministry of National Defense said Dec. 8.
"A final decision will be made as late as next month," Lt. Gen. Jang Kwang-il, deputy minister for policy, said in a briefing on details of the redeployment to Afghanistan, apparently in support of the upcoming 30,000-troop U.S. surge.
Jang cited statistics that show the U.S. deployment of MRAPs to Afghanistan has helped lower its troop fatalities there significantly in recent years.
If it fails to secure U.S. MRAPs, the ministry will deploy the South Korean Army's Barracuda four-wheel-drive armored vehicles or K21 armored infantry fighting vehicles, Jang said.
Jointly developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and Doosan DST, the 25-ton K21 has a 750-horsepower turbo-diesel engine and 40mm automatic cannon capable of shooting down slow-moving helicopters and aircraft. It is equipped with digital communication, GPS receivers and inter-vehicle digital links. The K21 can travel as fast as 70 kilometers per hour on paved roads and cross a river at a speed of 7.8 kilometers per hour with the help of its water-jet propulsion system.
South Korean troops will be stationed in mountainous Parwan province, 60 kilometers north of Kabul, along with civilian reconstruction workers, the ministry said in a news release.
Other gear for the deployment includes:
* Four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters fitted with missile protection systems.
* A mini UAV for reconnaissance and surveillance. A viable candidate is a Ucon Systems-developed hand-launched UAV that uses a parachute landing system. The UAV, which has a service ceiling of 1.5 kilometers and a mission radius of 10 kilometers, is under field trials, according to the release.
* The ADD-developed K11 airburst assault rifle. It consists of a semi-automatic 20mm smart-grenade launcher, an underslung assault rifle that fires a standard 5.56mm NATO round, and a top-mounted computer-assisted sighting system with integrated rangefinder and thermal infrared night-vision capabilities.
Deploying portable/robotic explosive detection systems is also under consideration, the ministry said.
Earlier in the day, the South Korean Cabinet endorsed the plan to send 320 troops, 40 police and 100 Provincial Reconstruction Team members to Afghanistan in July.
The ministry is to submit the motion, which calls for 29 months of deployment, to the National Assembly for approval later this week.