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Shown above left is the Tigon wheeled armored vehicle of Hanwha Defense. The Seoul-based defense company is poised to export the new-generation tactical vehicle to overseas countries. Shown above right is the predecessor of the Tigon, dubbed the 8x8 Black Fox. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

The Redback, the Tigon draw attention of overseas buyers

A leading defense enterprise in South Korea, Hanwha Defense is vying to duplicate its success in the global market as a top-class armored vehicle developer, according to the company on Aug. 23.

And its two major assets are the Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and the Tigon wheeled armored vehicle.

The Redback has already risen to fame, as the tracked armored vehicle is competing for Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 3 program designed to acquire 450 next-generation IFVs to replace the older fleet of M113AS4 armored personnel carriers.

The Redback was shortlisted in 2019 as one of the two finalists to participate in the Australian Army’s Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) to test and evaluate the prototype vehicles, with a final bidder announcement scheduled for early 2022.

The Redback is the first of its kind in the country to be designed and developed for foreign requirements. Previously, armored vehicles were first built in South Korea to meet the requirements of the South Korean Army or Marine Corps and then exported to other nations with some modifications if needed.

“Over the past four decades, Hanwha Defense has accumulated a wide range of expert skills on armored vehicles, artillery systems, air-defense systems, and unmanned ground systems,” Vice President An Byung-chul, head of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division, said.

“Based on those technologies and know-how, Hanwha Defense is fully ready to provide any type of defense solutions to satisfy the needs of any customer nation.”

The Redback is a next-generation IFV developed specifically for the Australian Infantryman with advantages literally built into it from the ground up.

Equipped with advanced situational awareness systems normally found on jet fighters such as see-through vision and helmet slaved systems, the Redback rides on rubber tracks that reduce noise and vibration while offering superior ride quality for its crew and the soldiers it protects.

The vehicle boasts an advanced layered protection system and world-class armor, and a structure designed to protect occupants from the effects of the blast.

All this is supported by an independent suspension system, which does not use torsion bars, thus supplying more space for innovative blast mitigation systems which remove the dependence on old-fashioned suspended footrests and other design constraints.

Tigon wheeled armored vehicle

Hanwha expects that the Tigon will also be a key contender in the international wheeled armored vehicle market, as a couple of countries have shown interest in the new-generation tactical vehicle developed in 2018.

Multiple nations in South America and Asia have shown strong interest in the Tigon, a successor to the 8×8 Black Fox armored vehicle.

The 6×6 variant of the Tigon has a combat weight of 21 tons and can carry up to 11 crew. Powered by a 525-horsepower engine, the armored personnel carrier has a maximum road speed of 110 km/h with an operational range of 800 km. The vehicle is also able to move in water with a top speed of 8.5 km/h.

With the modular design, the Tigon can be armed with different types of weapon systems such as 7.62 mm machine gun; 12.7 mm and 30 mm guns mounted on a remote-controlled weapons system; and 90mm cannon.

The multi-purpose vehicle is fitted with improved armor protection capability with the application of add-on armor and mine protection equipment. It also features various auxiliary functions, including an air-conditioner, central tire inflation system, anti-lock brake system, and winches.

“A key strength of the Tigon is the vehicle can meet the needs of multiple roles and missions thanks to its efficient modular design,” said So Won-yong, chief research engineer for the Tigon project. “As for the protection capability, the Tigon can survive an anti-tank blast of 8kg of TNT and continue driving on a speed of 45km/h to a distance of 40 km or more, after a puncture, taking advantage of run-flat tires.”

The 8×8 variant of Tigon has been developed better to meet the needs of international customers.

According to Hanwha Defense, the newer variant would have a maximum payload capacity of 8 tons. Powered by a 600-horsepower engine, the 8×8 Tigon would be able to operate within an operational radius of 800km, returning maximum fuel efficiency of 2.0 km/L.

“The Tigon 8×8 would have much more advantages in terms of payload, engine power, range, fuel efficiency, and others, in comparison to other armored vehicles in the global market,” a Hanwha Defense spokesman said.

“Through accumulated technologies and know-how in the field of armored vehicles and land defense systems, Hanwha Defense is fully committed to providing best-ever defense solutions to customers.”

Win-win solutions

Hanwha Defense has plans for tech transfer and local production to potential international customers in bids to help facilitate the local industries, the spokesman added.

Performances of the Tigon were showcased during multiple trials over the past years. In 2018, the Tigon participated in back-to-back trials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In the UAE, advanced wheeled armored vehicles from about 10 countries underwent a series of tests and evaluations during the trial session hosted by the UAE Armed Forces. As a result, the Tigon won the best score, 78.8 points, as the big-name US Stryker armored vehicle received 50 points range.

“The Tigon is capable of conducting a mission in a variety of battlefield conditions, such as desert, jungle, swam and other extreme environments,” said Yang Hee-wong, a technical manager of the production team at Hanwha Defense Plant 2.

“Tigon’s optimal design on the center of gravity enables high-speed driving in a stable manner and rapid turn posture control.”

A defense business arm of Hanwha Group, the seventh largest conglomerate in South Korea, Hanwha Defense is the leading wheeled and tracked combat vehicle and weapons systems developer with a half-century of production records of multiple proven direct and indirect fire solutions.

Hanwha Defense has produced and delivered over 8,500 cutting-edge combat vehicle platforms and related technologies to the South Korean military and other customer nations, including Malaysia, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Turkey, and India.

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.