At the 2022 Farnborough International Air Show, Byeong-hyun Kwon, head of LIG Nex1’s C4ISTAR business division, and Pascale Sourisse, senior vice president of Thales, decided to expand cooperation in performance improvement areas including Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO). Through the signing of this MOU, LIG ??Nex1 is expected to achieve 300 billion won in orders in the MRO field in 2022. Currently, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is using a Dutch CIWS called Goalkeeper. LIG Nex1 has won in late 2021 a tender for the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy CIWS-II program. The new system will replace the Goalkeeper.
In particular, since 1998, the two companies have promoted the technical cooperative production and depot maintenance of the armament control system mounted on the destroyer, a large ship of the Navy, and since 2016, LIG ??Nex1 has secured the depot maintenance capability of the Goalkeeper CIWS (close-in weapon system). LIG Nex1’s C4ISTAR and Thales Netherlands are continuing and strengthening cooperation between the two companies, such as transferring technology to make this possible. LIG Nex1 opened a new Goalkeeper CIWS maintenance facility in South Korea in 2019.
Goalkeeper is a Dutch close-in weapon system introduced in 1979, developing it around the GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-style autocannon. It is an autonomous and completely automatic weapon system for short-range defence of ships against highly manoeuvrable missiles, aircraft and fast-manoeuvering surface vessels. Once activated the system automatically undertakes the entire air defence process from surveillance and detection to destruction, including the selection of the next priority target.
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 and significantly increased range with similar muzzle velocity. 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.