Korea’s top weaponry on display at ADEX

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Korea’s top weaponry on display at ADEX

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Various types of military aircraft and equipment are on display at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, on Monday as part of the Seoul Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2019. The event is set to run for six days from Tuesday to Sunday. [NEWS1]

Korea will kick off the largest defense and aerospace exhibition in Northeast Asia today at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, where a vast array of cutting-edge weaponry and military equipment will be put on display as a demonstration of the country’s evolving defense and aerospace industries.

The Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2019 will be open to the public for six days at Seoul Air Base from Tuesday to Sunday, with 98 military officials from 53 countries - including defense ministers, chiefs of staff and acquisition agency chiefs - set to attend.

Korea’s Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Won In-choul will meet with his counterparts from 10 countries on the sidelines of the exposition, including Gen. Charles Brown, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Force, in consultations to enhance “military exchanges and bilateral cooperation,” according to the Air Force on Monday.

Jang Seok-won, chief organizer of Seoul ADEX, said at a press conference on Monday that the expo will serve as an opportunity for Korea’s defense industry to demonstrate many of its “high-tech aerospace and defense technologies and equipment leading the 4th industrial revolution.”

This year’s Seoul ADEX will be the largest of its kind since the event first launched as the Seoul Air Show in 1996, with 430 defense and aerospace firms from across 34 countries taking part. A total of 1,730 booths have been installed at the exhibition’s indoor and outdoor spaces to allow these companies to display their products.

The exhibition will display a roster of 76 types of military equipment and aircraft from the Korean military, including the fifth generation F-35A stealth fighter jet that Seoul continues to introduce to its air fleet from the United States. Several of Korea’s signature pieces of military hardware, like the K9 self-propelled howitzer, K21 infantry fighting vehicle, K-15K fighter jet and Korea’s first domestically developed helicopter, the KUH-1 Surion, will also be exhibited.

Visitors will be able to view foreign military equipment, like Boeing’s AH-64E Apache helicopter, the A400M Atlas airlifter from Airbus or General Atomics’ MQ-1 predator drone.

The highlight of the exposition, at least in terms of its significance for the Korean defense industry, will be the unveiling of a life-sized mock-up of the KFX, a domestically built next-generation fighter aircraft. After spending roughly 8.6 trillion won ($7.3 billion) to develop the jet, making it the most expensive military project in the country’s history, a prototype is set to be launched by 2021 before production begins of 120 units by 2026 at an additional cost of 10 trillion won.

Jang said the display of the aircraft’s mock-up at the Seoul ADEX will serve as a means to inform the public of the project’s success and reinforce support for the project as it moves forward.

Each day of the expo will also feature a series of flight demonstrations and acrobatic exercises conducted by the Korean Air Force’s Black Eagles team and the Australian civic acrobatic flight team Maxx-G. Members of the public will also be able to experience test flights on some of these aircraft, according to the event’s organizers.

The exposition will also host a series of defense- and aerospace-related seminars and symposiums Tuesday to Friday, through which defense officials and firms will discuss ways to enhance cooperation in military technology and forge business deals.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of its foundation, the Air Force will also take the occasion to demonstrate a high-altitude low opening parachuting maneuver and an honor guard ceremony, followed by a conferral of honors on its pilots.

Along with exhibiting some of its most highly rated military equipment like the K30 Biho anti-aircraft system and K2 tank, the Army will operate exhibits of future combat systems featuring drone robots and the Warrior Platform, enhanced combat equipment to be worn by frontline troops.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]

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