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Hanwha Aerospace to test out uncrewed vehicle for US military bidBy Moon Joon-hyun
Published : Sept. 14, 2023 - 15:24
Hanwha Aerospace said on Thursday that its multipurpose uncrewed vehicle, Arion-SMET, will be tested at a US Marine Corps facility in Hawaii in December for potential integration into the US Army.
This marks the first time a Korean-made vehicle of this type will undergo such testing. It is part of Hanwha's efforts to solidify its stature in the global aerospace and defense market by 2030.
The testing follows Hanwha's recent contract with the US Department of Defense to join the Foreign Comparative Testing project, which is a program that evaluates foreign defense technologies for potential US military assimilation. Of the 300 innovations assessed annually, only an average of 3 percent proceed to the project phase.
In Oahu, the state's most populous island, the Arion-SMET will be evaluated on its ability to transport supplies like fuel, medical evacuees and repair equipment over set distances. The trial will determine if the vehicle meets US Marine Corps' stringent standards.
Arion-SMET, a pioneering South Korean uncrewed military vehicle, can reach speeds of 43 kilometers per hour. It can cover distances up to 100 km and carry payloads of up to 550 kilograms. It has versatile operation modes, incuding remote control, wire-following and autonomous exploration.
Its autonomous combat feature can track and confront targets during movement, which can be used for both logistics and combat scenarios.
Last year, a precursor to the Arion-SMET, the AeonSmart, was showcased to the US military at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, marking the first occasion a South Korean-made military uncrewed vehicle was shortlisted for the FCT project.
This year, Hanwha Aerospace also inaugurated research facilities such as the Autonomy HUB and E-Drive HUB in collaboration with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Hanyang University. The centers aim to pioneer autonomous solutions to equip military vehicles with rapid environmental adaptability and anti-jamming measures that enable them to navigate complex terrains, even without being trained with prior data.
"After our demonstration with the US Forces Korea last year, this upcoming FCT assessment of the US Marine Corps shows the American military's trust in the Arion-SMET. Our ambition is not just to meet expectations, but to set a new benchmark in the uncrewed systems sector,” said Seo Young-woo, head of Hanwha Aerospace's land systems business division.
Articles by Moon Joon-hyun
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