A major aerospace company from South Korea, Korean Aircraft Industries (KAI) and several small-scale companies from the defence sector will be participating in the Aero-India 2019.
A major aerospace company from South Korea, Korean Aircraft Industries (KAI) and several small-scale companies from the defence sector will be participating in the Aero-India 2019. Sources told FE that “The Korean defence companies are aware of the Indian companies in the defence sector and they are open to joint ventures to `Make in India’ and in South Korea there is no law that could stop the transfer of technology (ToT). The aerospace company KAI the maker of the trainee aircraft ‘KT-1’ is keen to work with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).”
During the visits of the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, followed by defence minister Song Young-moo, both sides had discussed the possibility of working together in the defence and security sector. FE had reported that trainee aircraft ‘KT-1’ of Korean Aircraft Industries of South Korea could be considered for the Indian Air Force (IAF), as it was one of the shortlisted aircraft in 2011. Confirming this to FE, the source said that “The issue had been discussed. KAI wanted to work with HAL on the basic trainer; however, HAL is already progressing well on the indigenous HTT 40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft) for which the Indian Air Force has already placed its orders.”
Both India and Korea are also looking at opportunities in naval shipbuilding and port infrastructure. In fact when the Korean defence minister a former naval officer had interactions with the shipyards for working together on some ship building projects. The source confirmed to FE that South Korean companies will be responding to the RfP for 12 mine counter measure vessels (MCMVs) as the Indian Navy needs to swiftly scale up its mine warfare capability.
As reported by FE earlier, Kangnam Corporation of South Korea has responded to the Ministry of Defence’s expression of interest for MCMVs to be built by Goa Shipyard. With an approximate cost of the project pegged at Rs 32,640 crore, these will be built in India under ‘Make in India’ initiative. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Seoul in 2015, it may be recalled that the two countries had concluded a pact on shipbuilding, upgrading their relationship to a ‘special strategic partnership’.
Another major Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard has been in talks with Indian shipyards including Hindustan Shipyard for joint construction of fleet support ships with modern techniques at about Rs 10,000 crore. “However, due to major technical differences the deal did not get done,” said a senior Indian Navy officer.
Korean companies are also keen to participate in the defence corridors being built in Tamil Nadu as well as Uttar Pradesh.
Recently, the K-9 Vajra-T 155 mm, 52 calibre gun a joint venture between L&T and Hanwha Techwin, was recently inducted in the artillery of the Indian army.
According to the joint statement which was issued at the end of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent visit to India, both countries have agreed to further explore possibilities to coordinate efforts in the defence and strategic spheres to benefit from each other’s unique capabilities and experience.