Korea Herald reported that LIG Nex1 will participate in the International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition 2021 (MADEX 2021) to showcase its advanced close-in weapons system, or CIWS, specialized to the South Korea. Currently, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is using a Dutch CIWS called Goalkeeper, which automatically shoots thousands of bullets per minute to offer short-range defense for ships against fast-moving missiles, aircraft and surface vessels. MADEX 2021 will be held from Wednesday to Saturday at Bexco in Busan, South Korea.
Through its CIWS-II program, the Navy aims to develop a more advanced CIWS that has the same barrel and ammunition carriage system as Goalkeeper. If selected for the Navy’s CIWS-II program, LIG Nex1 will supply its Goalkeeper to the Navy’s future vessels including light aircraft carrier, next-generation KDDX destroyers and FFX-III frigates. Last September, LIG Nex1 completed a depot maintenance and acceptance test of its Goalkeeper. It is also the first Korean company to have secured a fire control system dedicated to CIWS-II.
The GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm, also used by the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, was selected for the system. The 30x173mm cartridge has a greater projectile mass than the 20x102mm cartridge fired by the Phalanx CIWS M61 Vulcan, so it provides much greater destructive power with similar muzzle velocity but significantly increased range. The weapon is not likely to be a locally developed one but rather the same GAU‐8/A Avenger seven-barreled autocannon used by the Goalkeeper CIWS, which is already in service with the RoKN. The developing and testing a completely new gun system would take much longer.
Poongsan, South Korea’s largest ammunition manufacturer, already produces K164/K165 missile-piercing discarding-sabot rounds that can be used by the GAU-8/A Avenger, which South Korea is planning to produce domestically through a technology transfer from US manufacturer General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. The 30x173mm MPDS cartridge has a discarding nylon sleeve (sabot) with a 21 mm sub-calibre tungsten penetrator. The nylon sabot provides a seal between penetrator and barrel and reduces wear.