The delegation met with DSTG Chief Defence Scientist Tanya Monro and counterparts from Defence and the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) during their visit, which also included a series of briefings to defence journalists and invited guests during a Defence Industry Science & Technology function in Canberra on July 21. 
Speaking with a small number of defence media before the event, Minister Eom commented that Australia and the Republic of Korea share a lot of common values and noted that the two countries have recently signed Memoranda of Understanding covering defence co-operation and science & technology co-operation. 
“When [former] President Moon Jae-In paid a state visit to Australia last December, relations between the two nations were elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership. On top of that, the MOU concerning cooperation in the bill of defence industry and defence materiel was signed and the actual contract for a leading Korean weapons system was assigned,” he said.
“As the Korean defence industry manufacturing capacity and the Australian manufacturing infrastructure is combined together, Australian manufacturing industry will witness more opportunities and create more jobs. And it will also enable both countries to make a joint entry into third countries, such as the US and UK, via a stable investment in defence R&D and production.”
The weapons system referred to by Minister Eom is of course Hanwha Defense Australia’s contract to build the AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer (a variant of the successful K9 Thunder) and AS10 (K10) Automatic Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (AARV) in the Geelong region under Land 8116 Phase 1. Hanwha is also one of two finalists in Army’s Land 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) competition with its AS21 Redback.
Areas of interest for further co-operation between the two countries are understood to include the shared future development of AS9 and AS10 system. Minister Eom told ADM that Korea is already working to incorporate greater autonomy into the K9 design, with the aim of reducing the crew from the current five, to just two personnel. ADM understands that work DAPA is doing towards increasing autonomy of the AARV as well is also of great interest to Army, as it looks to solving logistics problems with the technology.
“We are completely open to expanded co-operation with Australia in unmanned technologies,” Minister Eom said. “If Australia is willing to expand co-operation, then it is more than welcome.”
A further area of future co-operation may be in the development of submarines. There is an increasing call for an interim conventional submarine to de-risk Australia’s transition to a nuclear-powered boat and it’s worth noting that DAPA has an active design and build program already underway. 
“Not many countries can satisfy Australia’s requirements, but I believe the Republic of Korea can,” Minister Eom said.  
Korea is currently conducting the incremental development of the KSS-III (Jangbogo III) attack submarine, a conventionally-powered 3,000-tonne design which will include an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system from the outset.
“The Batch I program is a submarine that is 83.5 metres long and more that 3,000 tonnes, an endurance of 50 days, a fuel cell AIP and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” explained DAPA’s head of the KSS-III program, Lieutenant Commander Schoon-Cha in the defence industry presentation which followed.
The first Batch 1 submarine is already in service with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and LCDR Schoon-Cha said that from Batch II, delivered from 2027 onwards, displacement will be increased to around 3,700 tonnes and technologies such as Lithium-ion batteries and state of the art sonar systems with a longer detection range incorporated.
According to General Manager of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) General Manager Hoeun Kim, while the KSS-III submarine currently employs the indigenous Hyunmoo 4-4 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), it is “most possibly” able to be integrated with the US BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) specified by the RAN.
“The KSS-III can cruise for more than 10,000 nautical miles – for example from HMAS Stirling to Hawaii or east Africa without resupply,” Hoeun Kim said. “It is the largest conventional submarine in the world and also the most silent in the ROKN.”
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