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International air defense exhibition to kick off Tuesday

SEONGNAM ― An international air defense exhibition will open in South Korea on Tuesday with the aim of boosting local defense exports and exchanges among local and foreign firms, organizers said Monday.

Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2011 will take place through Sunday at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, featuring the world’s premier aerospace and defense technologies.

Hosted by Korea Aerospace Industries Association, Korea Defense Industry Association and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, the biennial exhibition marks its eighth anniversary since its inception in 1996 under the name “Seoul Air Show.” 
A variety of aircraft are on display at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday, a day before Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2011 kicks off its six-day run. (Related story on Page 3) (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
A variety of aircraft are on display at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday, a day before Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2011 kicks off its six-day run. (Related story on Page 3) (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

More than 310 firms and 250,000 visitors are expected at the event, which seeks to become the largest such one in the Asia Pacific region.

Nearly 90 high-level defense industry and military officials from some 50 countries will participate in the event. Among them are the defense chiefs of the Philippines, Pakistan, Peru, Nigeria and Gabon.

A total of 313 firms including 195 foreign firms will run 1,035 booths to showcase their high-tech products built with their latest defense technologies.

Among the foreign firms to join the exhibition are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, Northrop Grumman, Rolls-Royce and Gulfstream.

“We have a long history of working with Korea, a lot of partnerships with the industry here and academic institutions in Korea. So, we are looking to strengthen the partnerships,” Nick Britton, external communications manager of Rolls Royce, told The Korea Herald.

Lockheed Martin will present a mock-up of the F-35 stealth fighter jet while Boeing is to exhibit the B-787 Dreamliner. Northrop Grumman will bring a mock-up of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.

Korea’s Air Force will exhibit a variety of aircraft such as the F-15K, KF-16, F-4E and KT-1. The Navy will display its P-3C anti-submarine patrol aircraft while the Army will stage its CH-47 heavy-lift helicopter and Cobra attack helicopter.

Local defense firms such as Hyundai Rotem, Samsung Techwin, LIG Nex1 and Samsung Thales will also show off their high-tech military products including K9 self-propelled howitzers, K21 armored vehicles and a warship tracking radar.

“For the local industry, the talking point is exports. As we know well that without ensuring the top quality of our products, export efforts will be futile, LIG Nex1 has made a significant portion of its investment in research and development projects,” said LIG Nex1 PR Senior Vice President Kim Kyu-jin.

KIA Motors also displays a set of high-tech products including military cargo vehicles.

“During this exhibition, we would like to present the direction of the development of our next-generation transport equipment that can effectively respond to future battleground situations,” said Chang Hun-sub, deputy director general of the military product planning team at KIA Motors.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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