(From the National Interest)
By Ed Kim
For several years, South Korea has been in the throes of a military weapons binge. In particular, Seoul really wants weapons made in South Korea. Officials have a mix of concerns regarding the evolving nature of the U.S.-Korean alliance, the unique needs of defending their mountainous country and the desire to bolster an indigenous arms industry.
It hasn’t always gone well. One of the first attempts to create a completely independent weapons system was an armored infantry fighting vehicle — known as the K200 — in the mold of an American M-113.
Like the M113, it was designed to give a tracked armored option to carrying a squad of troops. Also like the M-113, the K200 has a .50-caliber machine gun as its heaviest weapon … and it’s lightly armored and slow. Worse, North Korean BMP-1s would find them to be easy prey in the event of a war.
So, in 2003, Seoul awarded a $77 million contract for the development of a new IFV called the K21. It’s arguably one of the best in the world. Read more