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South Korean Five-Year Defense Development Plan

K2 tanks of the South Korean army (c) Ministry of National Defense of South Korea

On August 10, 2020, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense presented a five-year medium-term defense development plan for 2021-2025. The plan envisages spending by South Korea a total of 300.7 trillion won (about $ 250 billion) on military needs during this period and a phased increase in the defense budget from 50.2 trillion won ($ 42 billion) in 2020 to 67.6 trillion won ( $ 57 billion) in 2025.

At the same time, the total spending on procurement and R&D over five years should be 100.1 trillion won (85 billion won) and in the annual defense budget should increase from 16.7 trillion won (14 billion dollars) in 2020 to 23.6 trillion won ($ 20 billion) in 2025.

The number of personnel of the South Korean armed forces will be reduced from the current 555 thousand people to 500 thousand people by the end of 2022. In the ground forces, the directorates of two army corps and three infantry divisions will be disbanded, but the Air Force and Navy will be slightly increased. At the same time, the number of civilian personnel of the armed forces is planned to increase from the current 47 thousand people to 60 thousand people in 2025.

A significant increase in the number of cruise and ballistic missiles, the creation of a multilevel missile defense system, and the creation of a missile attack warning system are named among the priorities of the procurement policy.

It is planned to create a long-range air defense system L-SAM, as well as a short-range missile defense system similar to the Israeli Iron Dome to protect Seoul from possible missile and artillery strikes.

For the ground forces, it is planned to purchase K2 tanks, K806 / K808 wheeled armored personnel carriers and new ALH light combat helicopters. It is planned to create a modernized 155-mm self-propelled howitzer K9A1 with an automatic loading system, corrective missiles for 230-mm MLRS, as well as new operational-tactical missiles, including those with penetrating warheads. A set of "digital" individual fighter equipment will be introduced.

For the fleet, it is planned to start a program to create a large universal amphibious assault ship of the LPX-II project with a standard displacement of about 30 thousand tons, equipped with F-35B fighters. Construction of new "medium" destroyers of the KDDX (KDX-IV) type with a standard displacement of about 6,000 tons, which will be equipped with an analogue of the South Korean-developed AEGIS weapon system, and integrated supply ships of the AOE-II project with a capacity of more than 10 thousand tons, will begin. It is also planned to build non-nuclear submarines of the modified KSS-III project with an increased displacement from 3000 tons to 3600-4000 tons and an increased number of vertical launchers for cruise missiles.

For the naval aviation, the purchase of basic patrol aircraft and long-range patrol UAVs will be carried out, and the development of an airborne assault vehicle (armored personnel carrier) will begin for the marines.

For the Air Force, it is planned to start serial production of the nationally developed KF-X fighter. Cash fighters KF-16 and F-15K are planned to be upgraded with radar equipment with AFAR. The development of long-range aviation cruise missiles and new anti-ship missiles (apparently supersonic), as well as work in the field of hypersonic technologies, have been announced.

It is planned to purchase long-range military transport aircraft, develop space satellite capabilities (including those based on microsatellites weighing less than 100 kg), as well as create a laser ground-based satellite tracking system (and, apparently, their blinding).

It has announced plans to create a solid-propellant launch vehicle by the mid-2020s, one of the main tasks of which will be to launch satellites into orbit of a national space navigation system (analogous to GPS) declared to be created and put it into operation by the mid-2030s.

Programs have been deployed to create a family of land-based unmanned platforms, an integrated system of sea surface and submarine unmanned platforms (including a small unmanned submarine), as well as a whole system of UAVs for various purposes and sizes, including the creation of an inconspicuous reactive reconnaissance UAV.

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