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South Korea Is MSPO Lead Nation Again

South Korea was previously MSPO Lead Nation in 2017 [© Targi Kielce: Dawid Lukasik]

For the second time South Korea holds MSPO (Międzynarodowy Salon Przemysłu Obronnego) Lead Nation status at the Polish defence exhibition.

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Press Release, Kielce, 11 January 2023: South Korea holds the MSPO’s Lead Nation Exhibition for the second time Asian partner featured as the Lead Nation at this year’s International Defence Industry Exhibition is a natural consequence after Poland has decided to purchase a large share of military equipment from this country.

K2 tanks and K9 howitzers may be displayed at the South Korean Exhibition. The Koreans held their first Lead Nation Exhibition during MSPO 2017. It is worth recollecting that at the end of July 2022, Mr Mariusz Błaszczak, the head of the Ministry of National Defence, approved contracts to purchase a thousand K2 tanks and over 600 K9 howitzers.

A few decades ago, South Korea did not produce any weapons. Korea’s armed forces were mainly supplied with imported products. The United States used to be the primary source of supplies. The first defence-industry plants were created as late as the 1970s, owing to the Americans’ support; over the next several decades, South Korea had created a modern arms and defence industry, able to meet most of the armed forces’ demand. The portfolio ranges from light weapons through missiles. Koreans produce their own armoured equipment and artillery, including tanks, combat infantry vehicles and self-propelled howitzers. The chassis of the latter have been used with Polish self-propelled Krab howitzers.

PGZ Krab SPH at MSPO 2022 [© Bob Morrison]

Poland’s cooperation with South Korean defence companies has been developing dynamically for years. The president of the Polish Armaments Group, Sebastian Chwałek, and the president of Hyundai Rotem, Lee Yong-bae, signed an agreement on cooperation between the two companies; last year’s MSPO was the stage for the official contract conclusion. The agreement relates to unmanned land platforms and the commencement of work on developing next-generation tank technology.

The International Defence Industry Exhibition MSPO (Międzynarodowy Salon Przemysłu Obronnego) is Europe’s third largest trade show of this kind, ranked just after Paris and London expos. MSPO continues its 30 years of tradition; the Lead Nations’ Exhibitions have been an indispensable part of the military show since 2004. Until now, the European Defence Agency and the following countries have presented their capacities as the expo featured counties: Germany, France, Israel, Sweden, the V4 Visegrád Group, Italy, France, Norway, and South Korea; the following countries have held their show twice – the UK, the USA, Poland and Turkey.

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