South Korea and Poland are exploring the possibility of jointly developing wheeled armoured vehicles, according to a recent report by the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The report said that DAPA officials visited the Polish state-owned defence company Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) in late May and discussed the potential cooperation on the K808 wheel-type armoured vehicles, also known as Baekho (White Tiger).
The K808 is a new generation of wheeled armoured vehicles designed and manufactured by Hyundai Rotem, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group. The vehicle can carry up to 11 personnel and is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station, a fire control system, a battlefield management system and a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection system. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 100 km/h and a range of 600 km.
The K808 was one of the items included in an initial agreement signed by South Korea and Poland in July last year to export 1,000 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks to Poland. The deal, worth about US$5.6 billion, was the largest arms export contract in South Korean history. The deal also included the supply of K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers and FA-50 light combat aircraft.
However, according to a DAPA official quoted by Yonhap News Agency, Poland expressed its interest in jointly developing wheeled armoured vehicles with improved performance instead of buying the existing model. The official said that the joint development would be beneficial for both countries and would enhance their defence capabilities and create synergy effects in the defence industry.
Poland has been boosting its defence spending and modernizing its military equipment in response to the security threats posed by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere. Poland is also a key member of NATO and the European Union and has been actively participating in international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
The joint development of wheeled armoured vehicles between South Korea and Poland, if realized, would be another milestone in their bilateral defence cooperation and strategic partnership. It would also demonstrate South Korea’s technological prowess and competitiveness in the global defence market.