Dual-Caliber Airburst Weapon
By Jung Sung-ki
South Korean troops to be deployed in Afghanistan will be armed with the latest K-11 airburst assault rifles for self-defense, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry unveiled the timeline as well as the troop numbers and equipment to be sent to the Central Asian nation, last week.
About 350 soldiers will be dispatched to Afghanistan with the main mission of protecting 120 South Korean civilian reconstruction workers, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said in a National Assembly session. Two dozen civilian reconstruction workers have already been sent to the war-torn country.
A motion calling for the deployment is to be submitted to the Assembly this month, he said.
Besides the K-11 rifle, Korean troops will be supported by four UH-60 transport helicopters, which will be able to avoid potential terrorist attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), ministry officials said. The ministry is also considering sending an RQ-101 unmanned aerial vehicle, they said.
Other key equipment for the Afghan deployment includes Barracuda 4x4 armored wheeled vehicles, K1A/K2 assault rifles and K200 amphibious armored personnel carriers.
Developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development, the K-11 consists of a semi-automatic 20mm smart grenade launcher, an under-slung assault rifle firing a standard 5.56mm NATO round, and a top-mounted computer-assisted sighting system with integrated rangefinder and thermal infrared night vision capabilities.
Using a self-detonation system, the 20mm round from the rifle can track its target and explode three to four meters above it. And it is also capable of penetrating walls of buildings.
The Barracuda, built by Doosan DST, is a tactical armored vehicle whose steel plate armor provides ballistic protection against 7.62mm caliber projectiles.
The vehicle can transport 12 men at a top speed of 100 kilometer per hour and climb steep slopes. It is equipped with a roof-mounted small-caliber weapon station, CCTV and a dozer system.
The UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. It is armed with 7.62mm machine guns and has a top speed of 296 kilometers per hour.