Kormarine Expo 2011 (마린위크는 국제 조선 및 해양산업전), the biennial international exposition covering shipbuilding and marine machinery came to Busan, South Korea this year from October 26-29, and was co-run under the banner of “Marine Week 2011” with the Shipping and Port Expo (국제 항만ㆍ물류 및 해양환경 산업전) and Naval & Defense Show (국제 해양방위 산업전).
Of particular interest to Asia Security Watch readers will no doubt be the various naval and military systems put on display by the Republic of Korea, and the plethora of companies currently researching, developing, and manufacturing Naval weapons and defense platforms for the South Korean forces.
Companies showing off their wares at the Naval & Defense show included Hanwha (한화그룹), LG (법인, under their Aerospace and Defense branch, LIG Nex1), Raytheon, Samsung (삼성그룹), Lockheed Martin, as well as many other global and domestic defense firms.
While it may have been entertaining to give the “Full Mission Bridge Simulator” a spin through the harbor in Busan, the most interesting displays at the show were demonstrating Korea’s current and next generation weapons and defense systems.
LIG Nex1 was showing off their Red Shark (홍상어 어뢰, Hong Sang Eo) and Blue Shark (청상어 어뢰, Chung Sang Eo) weapons systems. The Red Shark is a vertically launched anti-submarine missile system used to deploy the Blue Shark Torpedo, allowing KDX-II and KDX-III class Destroyers to engage and destroy (presumeably) North Korean submarines at ranges of 19 kilometers (12 miles). The Red Shark can be launched from the decks of the destroyers, entering the water near enemy submarines, at which point the Blue Shark system disengages from it’s mother system and engage its target. The Red Shark system is based on the US/Lockheed Martin-designed ASROC missile systems.
While the Red Shark/Blue Shark systems were approved for Korean destroyers prior to the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan (천안) by an alleged North Korean submarine in March 2010, this public display of the missile systems reaffirms how important these new systems are to the ROK Navy, and gives the public something to salve recent worries. The phase I implementation of these systems is scheduled to conclude in 2012 on a 60-70 unit production order, with phase II taking place from 2013-2015 as more KDX-III destroyers are deployed with the fleet.
One might imagine that phase II orders could see a spike from initial plans, as the Navy seeks to combat the threat of North Korean (…and perhaps Chinese) submarines in a post-Cheonan world. It will be interesting to see how the these events have changed the future of South Korean military research and technology. We’ll look at some of that future in part two.
That wraps part one of my look at Marine Week 2011. Tune in over the next few days as I bring you more from the Naval and Defense Demonstrations, including Hanwha going “all in” on the drone technology front, and quite possibly an infiltration by North Korean Cylons.
Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 82 post(s) on Asia Security Watch