At ADEX 2023 Hyundai Rotem unveiled the prototype of the N-WAV, which might well become the next generation wheeled armoured vehicle for the Republic of Korea Army
Dominating the Hyundai Rotem booth at ADEX is the prototype of the new wheeled armoured vehicle proposed by the company, fitted with a new turret which was defined a “technical prototype”. The N-WAV gross vehicle mass is under 35 tonnes, its powerpack providing 700 hp, which means a 20 hp/t power-to-weight ratio. It is fitted with independent suspensions of the double wishbone type with spring coils and dampers. As standard the first and second axles are steering, however the company is ready to provide as option steering also on the fourth axle to reduce the turning radius.
The vehicle is 9.1 metres long, 3.1 metres wide, hull height being 2.8 metres, which become 3.5 metres considering the turret. The considerable volume is not only related to internal volume issues, but also to the need to make the vehicle amphibious, two ducted propellers located at the rear providing thrust when afloat ensuring a maximum speed of 8 km/h. A trimvane is erected before going amphibious, e telescopic air intake beng also raised.
The 700 hp engine is coupled to an automatic transmission with seven forward and one reverse gear. EDR On-Line understood that Hyundai Rotem is closely following the evolution of the all-Korean engine solutions currently underway, which would open up export markets avoiding foreign restrictions when export in some countries is considered. For the time being the N-WAV propulsion is of the conventional type, based on a diesel-only solution.
The fighting vehicle configuration exhibited at ADEX could host a crew of three plus eight dismounts, the personnel carrier variant having two more seats for infantrymen. All soldiers are provided energy absorbing sets, mine protection being one of the design driving factors. Protection levels, both mine and ballistic remain classified. EDR On-Line understood that the hull is made of welded steel, on which an add-on armour package is added, this solution allowing for future upgrades. However passive armour is not the only element that contributes protection, an active protection system being also installed, its launchers being visible at the rear of the turret. it is the same KAPS (Korean Active Protection System) installed n the K2 Black Panther main battle tank in service with the Republic of Korea Army.
The driver is provided with a digitalised integrated display with a front thermal driving camera, side and rear cameras being also part of its sensor suite. A 360° viewing system is also installed, providing all-round situational awareness to the commander and infantrymen, crew side displays and electronic periscopes being available in the troop compartment.
For comfort a heating, ventilation and air cooling system is provided, while an NBC filtration unit ensures protection in contaminated areas, an automatic fire suppression system in the engine and troop compartment increases safety.
Hyundai Rotem underlined that the unmanned turret is a wholly new development. It is armed with a Northrop Grumman Mk44 Bushmaster II 30 mm cannon with double feed; according to information obtained at ADEX, the company aims at packing 500 30×173 mm rounds in the system, which would mean a considerable firepower. A coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun is installed, while a remotely controlled weapon station armed with a 12.7 mm weapon is fitted over the turret roof. On the turret right side a twin launcher for antitank missiles is installed. According to information gathered at ADEX, the turet has not yet started firng trials.
Hyundai Rotem aims at developing a whole family of vehiicles based on the N-WAV chassis. The models of three potential configurations where exhibited at ADEX. The heavier was definitely that fitted with a large calibre turret, the fume extractor on the barrel showing a 120 mm smoothbore solution. The crew if three would mean the presence of an autloader, the vehicle maintaning the capacity to carry four dismounts.
Second came the mortar carrier varant, armed with a 120 mm smoothbore system. Ths is available and is being produced by Hyundai WIA, part of the same industrial group. When on the move the mortar is lowered in the rear compartment and the two hatches are closed. These open up when the vehicle reaches the firing postion. Looking at the model it is clear that no jacks are needed, suspensions being capable to withstand the recol. The mortar carrier version of the N-WAV has a crew of five soldiers.
The third model seen at the Seoul exhibition is that of the MEDEVAC version. It can carry three stretchered casuaties two at the rear on the left and one on the right, or five seated casualties. The crew is made of the driver andcommander, and two medics. Medical equipment can vary but basically it is equipped with first aid kiy, oxygenator and automated external defibrillator.
Photos by P. Valpolini