South Korea is considering developing an indigenous engine for its K-9 self-propelled howitzer, officials said Tuesday, as the country pushes to expand the local development of weapons parts.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy were to sign a memorandum of understanding later in the day for cooperation in developing local weapons parts, according to the arms procurement agency.
Under the deal, the agency will seek to develop weapons parts with local technologies while the industry ministry plans to support expenses and monitor the process.
For now, the engine development for the K-9 howitzer is likely to be the first project under the agreement, according to officials.
"If we locally produce the engine for K-9 self-propelled howitzer, as is under review, it will be a move to pave the way for self-reliant national defense in terms of firepower and will also contribute to increasing exports," Wang Jung-hong, chief of the agency, said.
Manufactured by Hanwha Defense, the self-propelled artillery has been exported to several countries, including Turkey, Poland, India, Norway and Estonia. Around 1,700 units are now in service around the world, the company said.
After working on a detailed plan, the actual research and development will begin next year with 75 billion won ($63 million) to be injected over the next five years, it said.
Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo also vowed to actively cooperate to boost the country's competitiveness in the defense market. (Yonhap)