Hanwha: armoured and air defence solutions from Korea

by Paolo Valpolini 

With the development of its Tigon 6×6 now finished, the prototypes carried out tests in Malaysia and in the United Arab Emirates during 2018, Hanwha of Korea exploited the EDEX opportunity to show its product on the Middle East and African market, where 6×6 vehicles might increase their popularity in the next future. A full array of models was displayed, some of them particularly aimed at potential Egyptian needs.

A 21 tons vehicle, powered by a 525 hp engine, the Tigon 6×6 can easily be fitted with a medium calibre remote controlled turret retaining the capability of transporting up to nine dismounts, plus the crew of two, driver and commander/gunner. Fully amphibious, it can reach 8 km/h in water thanks to its two rear mounted waterjets, the vehicle is fitted with double whish-bone independent suspensions. Maximum road speed is 100 km/h, while range is 800 km. The Tigon 6×6 can climb a vertical obstacle of 0.5 meters and cope with 60% gradient and 30% side slope. Hanwha is working on an 8×8 version, which will have a GVW of 32 tons, and will be powered by a 600 hp engine, but this is still under development.

Hanwha also exhibited its Biho-II modular short-range air-defence system. The key element of the Biho-II is modularity, the turret being capable to be fitted with different guns, missiles and sensors. Mixed gun/missile configurations can be adopted, as well as missile-only configurations. Cannons in 40, 35 and 30 mm calibres can be installed; the system is contained in a pod that hosts not only the weapon but also the feed and the ammunition. As for air defence missiles information available show two different systems, the AIM-9X and the Stinger. It is however reasonable to guess that other SAM short- or medium-range might be integrated in the system, should a customer require this.

Beside the air defence role, the Biho-II can also be developed in a ground configuration, exploiting its gun with armour piercing rounds versus airburst ammunition used in the AD role, while antitank missile pods, such as the Javelin, can be integrated.

Coming to sensors, the main one is a 3D AESA radar, a secondary C-RAM radar being also available. How much the Biho-II will perform against rockets, artillery and mortars remains to be seen, many dedicated C-RAM systems having had problems in respecting the promised performances. Various types of optronic tracking systems can be installed, with different levels of performances and, of course, cost. At EDEX the Biho-II turret model was installed on a notional 8×8 vehicle, but the system can be easily fitted to a tracked chassis as well as integrated into trailer or container solutions. First firings of the Biho-II prototype are expected in 2019.

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