A naval defense system of Hanwha Defense is being displayed during the 2021 International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition (MADEX) held at BEXCO in Busan on June 9. The biennial naval defense fair will continue through June 12. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

South Korea’s defense biz bellwether demonstrates naval defense system

Hanwha Defense said on June 9 that the firm was showing off its advanced technology during a naval defense industry fair that takes place this week in Korea’s port city of Busan.

The 2021 International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition (MADEX) started on June 9 for a four-day run at BEXCO, with 120 defense companies from seven nations participating.

During the biennial naval defense show, Hanwha Defense noted that it was promoting the Korean Vertical Launch System, or KVLS, as a key item on display.

The KVLS is South Korean Navy’s standard vertical launch system for holding and firing different types of guided weapons, including anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface missiles.

The KVLS features a lower radar cross-section as it is installed under the deck, compared to older launching systems fed from behind by a magazine below the main deck.

Operational with the Navy’s guided-missile KDX destroyers, including the Sejong-the Great-class known as KDX-III and newer Daegu-class frigates, the KVLS was jointly developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development and Hanwha.

An upgraded variant of the KVLS, the KVLS-II, is also being developed by Hanwha Defense itself. The new system is to grow in size, and capable of launching newly-developed guided missiles, according to Hanwha.

Also on display was a lithium-ion battery to be used on the new 3,000-ton class attack submarine codenamed KSS-III Batch-2 to enter service by 2026.

Of note is that the Hanwha-built lithium-ion battery has been designed with a top priority on safety and reliability since the battery power stacks have undergone operational demonstrations for the first time in the world, even in various extreme conditions, the firm said.

The submarine-based battery technology has successfully been expanding into a commercial sector to develop an energy storage system, or ESS, for an eco-friendly propulsion system for offshore ships.

Besides naval systems, during the exposition, the Seoul-based company has introduced a range of sophisticated unmanned ground systems, including the multi-purpose unmanned ground vehicle, the explosive ordnance detection, and disposal robot, and the smart grenade robot.