Launch of the international defense exhibition, advanced weapons on display

By Kang Yoon-seung and Song Sang-ho

SEONGNAM, South Korea, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) – A biennial defense exhibition kicked off on Tuesday in Seongnam, south of Seoul, offering an in-depth look at cutting-edge military hardware like stealth jets, advanced interceptor missiles and hydrogen drones.

The five-day Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Show (ADEX) at Seoul Air Force Base comes amid continuing regional tensions over evolving threats from North Korea and intensifying the Sino-American rivalry.

This year’s edition is expected to provide a rare chance for domestic and foreign defense companies to take stock of the advancement of the arms industry and explore business opportunities as the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered their exchanges in person.

The 2021 exhibition involves 440 companies from 28 countries, including 171 from overseas, organizers said. This is the largest number of participating companies since the exhibition launched in 1996.

Among the exhibits on display are large hydrogen-powered drones, virtual reality-based training systems, laser weapon systems and multi-purpose unmanned vehicles, as well as dozens of military aircraft, such as FA fighters. 50 and KT-1 basic training jets.

Anti-radar F-35A, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., unveiled to the general public for the first time since the warplane was first delivered to an Air Force unit in South Korea in 2019. During the 2019 exhibition, a model of the stealth hunter was on display.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. introduced the MQ-1C Gray Eagle combat drone. Capable of high definition surveillance, the drone is known to carry four air-to-ground anti-armor missiles.

The ADEX also includes ground weapons, including the K-2 main battle tanks and the K-9 howitzer.

ADEX presents a wide range of material that can be applied to other fields, including spatial development and urban air mobility.

Hanwha Aerospace Co. showcased a true 75-ton thrust engine, which is the same model installed in the Nuri space rocket, which will be launched Thursday at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, 473 kilometers south of Seoul.

LIG Nex1 Co. has unveiled the hydrogen cargo drone, currently in development to carry 200 kilograms of cargo, for release by 2025.

About twenty international colloquiums and conferences will also be held on the sidelines of the exhibition, added the organizers.

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