SEOUL– South Korea is seeking to carve out a 5 percent share in the global arms export market by 2027 to become the world’s fourth-largest defense exporter, Seoul’s defense ministry said Thursday.
The goal was outlined as President Yoon Suk-yeol presided over a meeting of government and military officials and heads of local defense firms to expand arms exports at Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea’s sole aircraft maker, in Sacheon, 301 kilometers south of Seoul.
To achieve the goal, Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul unveiled four major tasks focusing on building a high-tech military and boosting arms exports in a “virtuous cycle.”
Among the four tasks is to secure future “core” technologies, including a series of “game-changer” ones, such as artificial intelligence, hypersonic technology, synthetic biology, future communications and quantum physics.
Another task is to strengthen government support for the arms industry through a set of measures, including selecting 100 promising mid- and small-sized defense enterprises by 2026 to support them in business counseling, funding, research and development and other areas.
The government also seeks to create a “defense technology innovation fund” worth 120 billion won (US$90 million) to ensure a smooth flow of funds into venture firms.
Another task involves the South Korean military’s role to share its know-how on operating exported weapons with the importer country through combined military drills, provide technical education and test-run certain systems to boost confidence in Korean exports.
The government, in addition, plans to expand the proportion of research and development in the defense budget to 10 percent or more by 2027.
At the meeting, Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang outlined five major tasks aimed at making the defense sector the nation’s “strategic industry.”
The tasks include pushing to develop technologies for 40 core materials and components, including carbon composite materials, and nurturing around 3,300 personnel specializing in mechanics, aviation, materials and other fields.
The government, in particular, plans to announce its strategy in December to secure world-class technologies in the carbon composite material field and achieve a 10 percent share in the world market.
Also among the tasks is to invest 1 trillion won or more by 2027 to push for “innovative” research and development efforts, such as transferring defense technologies to the civilian sector, incorporating civilian technologies into the defense realm and developing technologies used for both military and civilian areas.
Source: Yonhap News Agency