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Next year, the military will invest KRW 37.5 billion won in the purchase of commercial drones

-Joint Defense Industry Development Council by Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Industry
-Expedited trial acquisition budget increased to KRW 61.4 billion
-Mid-to-long-term roadmap to be prepared by the second half of the year
-Demonstration supply of robot models to the Army Training Center canteen

Next year, the military will invest KRW 37.5 billi

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has decided to invest KRW 37.5 billion won in purchasing commercial drones for military use next year, which is six times more than this year’s budget of KRW 6.2 billion won.

On August 11, the MND announced the “Defense Drone Development Strategy” at the 8th Defense Industry Development Council jointly presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook and Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Seung-wook (MOTIE).

In addition to expanding the budget for purchasing drones, the MND has decided to increase the budget for expedited trial acquisition from KRW 30.2 billion won this year to KRW 61.4 billion won next year, so that the rapidly developing drone technology can be introduced in a timely manner. Also, the MND will prepare a roadmap for mid-to-long-term commercial drone requirements, including plans for use in various fields as well as the existing missions using drones such as facility vigilance, combat experiments, and material transport, by the second half of the year, and promote a plan to present relevant information to the private sector.

Moreover, the MND has selected the 31st Infantry Division of the Army as a ‘test bed' for the commercial drone demonstration project (Test Bed: any setting or system that the performance and effectiveness of new technologies, products, and services can be tested), and decided to support the ongoing drone R&D and demonstration projects promoted by other ministries and local governments.

In addition, to minimize overlap in technology development with other ministries and share technologies, the ‘pan-ministerial drone technology cooperation network’ will be launched in September of this year, led by the MND. The ‘Council for Unmanned Defense System Development,’ hosted by the Deputy Minister of National Defense and attended by the public, private sector and military, will also be held periodically to check the current status of tasks for the development of defense drones, and to continuously identify potential improvements to the system.

At the meeting, the MOTIE, in cooperation with the MND and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), announced a plan to apply the ‘Standard Process Model for Robot Utilization’ to the military catering and defense industries. First of all, to reduce the workload of food handlers, the MND has decided to develop a standard model using robots for the four tasks of frying, stir-frying, soup and stew making, and cooking, which are performed at high temperatures, and distribute it to the canteen of the 28th unit in the Army Training Center within this year.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) plans to expand and distribute it to military catering facilities including field forces in the future.

In addition, the MND is preparing a plan to build a facility that utilizes robots in the entire meal catering process, and will apply it to a new facility on a trial basis starting next year. It is also working to expand the standard process model for using robots in automobile manufacturing sites to manufacturing processes in the defense industry such as tactical vehicles.

The DAPA announced a plan to introduce the ‘preferential acquisition system for Korean products,’ which suggests that an ‘expenditure target management system’ be introduced so that domestic spending reaches 80% or more for projects conducted by defense capability improvement expenses, and a 50% premium is applied to the overseas purchases given domestic development and overseas purchase. In order to reinforce the participation of domestic companies when purchases are unavoidably carried out overseas due to the nature of the business, there are plans to select foreign companies which cooperate with more domestic companies, through approaches that include the formation of a consortium between foreign and domestic companies and technical cooperation production, by diversifying business methods.

Mr. Suh said, “Our military will promote the development of defense industry technology as we are in the process of evolving into a state-of-the-art science and technology army through Defense Reform 2.0 and smart defense innovation, while building a powerful military that leads the future through ‘Future Defense Innovation’ and ‘Defense Vision 2050.’ Also, we will do our best to help our defense industry lead the global defense industry market. In particular, the MND will strengthen its state-of-the-art force so that we will be able to preemptively respond to the future security environment while connecting it to fostering the defense industry and increasing defense exports at the same time, thereby striving to put our defense industry among the world’s best.”

Minister Moon said, “Close collaboration between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) will contribute to the development of new industries by serving as a test bed for future innovative technologies and providing a stable market. The issues discussed today, such as drones and satellites, which help create an industrial ecosystem by preemptively creating demand for the military, and civilian robotics technology that spreads to military catering and defense manufacturing processes, are good examples of civilian and military cooperation.”

By Chae-Mu, Im < >

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