South Korea announced they would invest KRW 4.3 trillion (USD 3.9 billion) for defense research and development projects in 2021. With a 10% increase from last year’s KRW 3.9 trillion (USD 3.5 billion) defense R&D budget, South Korea further supports the defense sector in advancing technology developments and improving industry efficiency.
Last year, the country’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) allocated KRW 52.8 trillion (USD 48 billion) for 2021’s defense budget. For this year’s force modernization and R&D, the MND allotted KRW 16.9 trillion (USD 15 billion). The MND also stated that they would optimize 2021’s budget to strengthen defense postures and carry out defense reforms.
“We will share our policy direction with other organizations and strengthen cooperation for the development of our defense science technology and the growth of the industry,” said a DAPA official. The 2021 defense R&D includes a KRW 631 billion (USD 575 million) budget for core weapon technologies. For this year’s plan, South Korea’s procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), will conduct various development projects. Some of the defense programs include developing indigenous weapon parts and forming partnerships with universities, research centers, and related companies.
Government Support for Smaller Defense Firms
In addition to advancing Korea’s core weapon technologies, DAPA will support and impart defense technologies to civilian sectors. With these strategies, DAPA hopes to help enhance disaster response measures and improve overall society safety throughout the country.
Moreover, South Korea shared plans to invest in smaller defense firms, providing funding worth KRW 176 billion (USD 160 million). Under the agreement, DAPA would administer comprehensive support methods for smaller defense businesses in line with their growth phases.
According to a DAPA official, the agency will establish multiple offices in addition to the nine provincial support centers. To create more jobs, the establishments will provide support for small businesses in cooperation with local governments. Aside from improving small- and mid-sized local defense industries, DAPA would support local parts and export development through consulting services.
As for the budget, DAPA will set aside KRW 46 billion (USD 42 million) for defense product customization. Additionally, DAPA will spend KRW 70 billion (USD 63 million) for advanced components, military assets, and indigenous technology development.
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