S. Korea shows off next-generation fighter jet at its largest defence expo

SEOUL • South Korea opened its largest defence expo ever yesterday, showing off its next-generation fighter jet, drones and other technology in an effort to boost exports as economies around the world rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Opening ceremonies for the International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (Adex) at an air base in Seoul were, however, somewhat overshadowed by the launch of what South Korea said was a North Korean submarine-fired ballistic missile.

"Despite the Covid-19 situation this year, export marketing is expected with products developed by domestic companies at the exhibition hall, which has been expanded from last year," Adex official Lee Jong-ho told reporters on Monday.

At least 440 companies from 28 countries are showcasing 79 types of aircraft and 68 types of ground equipment. Around 300 government, military and defence acquisition officials from 45 countries are expected to attend the event, which runs through Saturday.

Also, at least 170 US troops are on hand to display American military aircraft, the US Air Force said in a statement.

Last week, Korea Aerospace Industries officials declined to comment on potential export deals for its KF-21 fighter jet and Light Attack Helicopters, but said both programmes were on track.

Korean Air has said it is displaying drones with vertical lift-off and landing capabilities, while a "space hub" displays components of South Korea's space programme, expected to get a boost with its first space launch vehicle planned for tomorrow.

North Korea, which has complained that the South's arms build-up threatens to destabilise the peninsula, put on a defence display last week.​

  • 440

    At least this number of companies are participating in South Korea's International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition. They come from 28 countries and are showcasing 79 types of aircraft and 68 types of ground equipment.

South Korea's arms exports in 2016-20 were 210 per cent higher than in the 2011-15 period, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2021, with the headline 'S. Korea shows off next-generation fighter jet at its largest defence expo'. Subscribe