The Korean defense industry’s ambitious plan to sell 3 trillion won ($2.6 billion) worth of anti-aircraft artillery to India is on life support, with reports suggesting New Delhi may build the weapons on its own.
According to the Indian media outlet ThePrint on Thursday, the Indian Defense Ministry agreed in a meeting between top officials to scrap plans to overhaul its self propelled air defense gun missile system (SPAD-GMS) through foreign acquisitions, and instead manufacture the weapons domestically.
According to another Indian outlet, Financial Express, the decision was made to ensure the Indian Armed Forces’ dependency on imports was cut down, amid fierce competition between Korean arms maker Hanwha Defense and its Russian competitor to win the SPAD-GMS contract.
The decision threatens to undo over seven years of concerted efforts by the Korean government and Hanwha to export the K30 Biho, one of Korea’s most successful domestic weapons projects to date. The Biho is a short-range anti-aircraft artillery capable of shooting down enemy planes and drones at low altitudes, and is further bolstered by a short-range antimissile system.
Developed in 2013 and operationally deployed since 2015, the system was paired with the surface-to-air Chiron missile developed by the Korean aerospace manufacturer LIG Nex1 known as Shingoong.