Increased Israeli-South Korean co-operation is on the cards as the Asian nation seeks to develop its indigenous defence and aerospace industries.

Although South Korea has traditionally bought most of its major items of military hardware from the USA, Israeli industry leaders believe that Seoul is seeking new avenues for product development.

This assessment follows talks with representatives of South Korean companies who have visited Israel in recent months. They believe there is great potential to use Israeli technology in military platforms already in production in their own country.

Rafael's vice-president for marketing Lova Drori says there are signs South Korea is making a focused effort to increase its abilities to develop indigenous defence systems.

There are pre-existing defence links between the two nations. South Korea has bought Israel Aerospace Industries' Harpy loitering anti-radar unmanned air vehicle and its Green Pine phased-array long-range radar that was developed as part of Israel's Arrow anti-tactical ballistic missile system.

Korea Aerospace Industries, meanwhile, is offering its T-50 supersonic advanced trainer as a replacement for the Israeli defence forces' McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawks. Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems have formed a joint venture to assemble whichever aircraft is chosen to meet the requirement and equip it with locally made systems.

Source: Flight International