At ADEX 2023 Hanwha exhibited a 1:7 model of its K-NIFV, for Korean New Infantry Fighting Vehicle, which is being proposed as successor for the K21 and especially for older equipment
Looking into the future Hanwha definitely identifies opportunities for the replacement of a number of legacy infantry fighting vehicles currently in the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA). Leveraging the successful work done on the Redback, recently selected by Australia, the company pushed the work ahead considering ROKA requirements.
Propulsion will be totally new, as the current 1,000 hp MTU diesel engine will be replaced by a hybrid solution. All the pack will be located at the front, including the diesel, batteries and the two electric motors that will activate the front sprockets. No data were provided about the output of the new powerpack, however as the combat weight is estimated at 42-45 tonnes, marginally higher than the Redback, 1,000 hp should be the minimum. Tracks will be of the rubber type, provided by Soucy, a weight saving solution that brings with it considerable advantages also in terms of vibration reduction.
The turret will be brand new as it will be built around a wholly new weapon, a cased telescoped ammunition 40 mm cannon under development by SNT Dynamics, known as CTWS. Ammunition is being developed by Poongsan, concept development being finished, the next step being the manufacturing of first prototypes. Three different types of round are being developed, High Explosive, APFSDS armour piercing, and training. It remains unclear if CTWS rounds will be compatible with those of the Franco-British CTAI cannon, establishing a standard for such munition, or not.
The turret visible on the model is fitted with a remotely controlled weapon station on the roof rear right, armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun, while the commander’s periscopic sight is located on the front left of the turret roof. EDR On-Line understood that this layout has been changed in the latest iteration, and now the RCWS and the sight will be integrated in a single complex. An antitank missile launcher is visible on the rear left side of the roof. The model shows three ready to fire missiles, but apparently the number will be reduced to two.
The missile selected for the K-NIFV is the TAipers, under development by Hanwha. Wire guided, it has a 10 km range and it features a dual seeker with Infrared Imaging and Visible channels. The Hanwha TAipers has a diameter of 180 mm, is fitted with a tandem warhead, the company declaring a penetration capacity of over 1,000 mm rolled homogenous armour behind explosive reactive armour. Considering the charge diameter the real penetration should be well above 1,000 mm. The TAipers development is finished and Hanwha is ready to switch to production. No coaxial machine gun seems to be fitted, at least on the model, while the typical twin launchers of the Iron Fist, the Elbit Systems active protection system, are fitted right and left in a recess in the turret. The turret has overcome the hurdle of the Preliminary Design Review. No date was provided for a roll-out of a complete prototype of the K-NIFV.
Photos by P. Valpolini