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Korea to use German power packs for K2 tanks

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Monday that it has decided to use Germany-made key engine and transmission parts, or the so-called power packs, over Korean parts for the military’s first 100 K2 tanks.

DAPA will import the first two sets of power packs from Germany-based MTU to install in the tanks for trials next year, and bring in more in phases with the aim of deploying the tanks by March of 2014.

This decision was made in a meeting presided over by the National Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Monday.

“We have reported this to the Board of Audit and Inspection, which accepted (our decision),” said Baek Youn-hyeong, DAPA spokesman.

“The important thing, however, is that DAPA will continue to extend testing of Korean power packs until local developers succeed.”

Korean companies, Doosan Infracore and S&T Dynamics, have been facing difficulties in the development of the power packs, with the latest engine damaged during testing in September.

The state auditors demanded DAPA to “fairly and comprehensively” test the performance of German power packs about a month ago, following the weapons procurement agency’s move to adopt German parts.

DAPA also plans finalize its decision on AW-159 and MH-60R multi-mission naval helicopters by January of 2013, while is still under negotiations regarding attack helicopters and next-generation fighter jets.

Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Longbow, Bell’s AH-1Z Cobra and Turkish Aerospace Industries/AgustaWestland’s T-129 choppers are competing for the attack helicopter deal, while Lockheed Martin’s F-35A, EADS’ Eurofighter and Boeing F-15SE have submitted their bids for the third FX fighter jet program.

“We will continue to negotiate until our demands and conditions are met,” said Baek.

(hkp@heraldcorp.com)
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