South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has launched a project to develop an indigenous long-range air defense radar in order to replace old ones brought in from abroad. DAPA signed a 46 billion won (US$41 million) deal with LIG Nex1 Co. for the four-year development project with a plan to begin its deployment in 2027. The air defense radar would be capable of monitoring and identifying aircraft inside the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) and sending information to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) Master Control and Reporting Center for defense operations.
The South Korea government had earlier pushed for a long-range radar development project with LIG Nex1 but the program was scrapped as what was under development at the time failed to meet the required performance criteria. In an effort to raise the company’s responsibility, the government had it shoulder 65 percent of the development cost in the joint development project. When the radar is deployed, a more thorough monitoring of the KADIZ will be possible and it is also expected to contribute to vitalizing the domestic defense industry by replacing the foreign radars with the locally developed one.
South Korea once promoted domestic research and development to replace aging U.S. equipment that has been used for air defense operations to monitor and identify aircraft in KADIZ, but the project was suspended in 2017 due to a lack of technology. Through rapid economic and technological advancement, South Korea has tried hard to localize expensive weapons such as fighter jets, submarines, missiles and warships, but U.S. has been reluctant to transfer sensitive military technologies. DAPA said, adding that demands for improved radar performance are growing due to the frequent entry of Chinese and Russian military aircraft into KADIZ.
LIG Nex1 Co., Ltd. (formerly known as LG Innotek and NEX1 Future) is a South Korean aerospace manufacturer and defense company. In 2013, a consortium led by South Korea private equity firm STIC Investments acquisition of a 49 percent stake in LIG Nex1 for 420 billion Korean won. It develops and produces a wide range of advanced precision electronic systems, including missile, underwater weapon systems, radars, electronic warfare, avionics, tactical communication systems, fire control systems, naval combat systems, and electro-optics. It is one of the major suppliers of weapon systems for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, as well as an international exporter of weapon systems.