SEOUL – Major aerospace companies from Israel and South Korea have agreed to expand their partnership on deadly drone technology.

Israel Aerospace Industries, or IAI, and Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, signed a memorandum of understanding on Oct. 20 on a loitering munitions program for maximizing the effectiveness of strike missions against enemy air defenses, according to an IAI statement.

The agreement was made during the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 2021 (ADEX 2021) running Oct. 19-23 at an airbase in Seongnam, just south of Seoul.

“IAI is proud to continue expanding our collaboration with KAI, and share our combat-proven capabilities in the field of loitering munitions,” Yehuda (Hudi) Lahav, executive vice president of marketing at IAI, said. “IAI is happy to partner with one of Korean’s leading companies, and to continue growing our collaboration with the local defense market and Korean industry leaders.”

KAI’s Chang Heon-han, executive vice president and head of future business division, said: “With the goal of leading the future of unmanned aerial vehicles, we are dedicated to developing next-generation unmanned aerial vehicle technology, and we will develop solutions that meet various customer needs.”

Loitering munitions combine the capabilities of drones and missiles by searching, identifying, attacking, and destroying targets. The new class of weapons system can be used to target especially sensitive and moving targets.

In March the two companies signed an initial agreement to collaborate on loitering munitions with regards to the South Korean Army’s pursuit of manned-unmanned teaming, or MUM-T, systems.

Under the scheme, a KAI-built helicopter would hover at distance while an onboard unmanned aerial vehicle searches for a target and strikes it immediately when necessary.

“The expanded cooperation between IAI and KAI will offer the South Korean military with new technologies, and will establish concrete cooperation plans through joint feasibility studies between the two companies,” the company statement said, referring to the Israeli company’s HARPY NGW and HAROP loitering missile as combat-proven in many nations around the world.

Brian Kim was a South Korea correspondent for Defense News.

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