South Korea-based Hanwha's Hybrid Biho, self-propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System

Defence minister Rajnath Singh announced that India and South Korea may be singing some new deals during the DefExpo 2020. He also emphasised the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and its military applications. Hanwha Defence, one of the South Korean companies which will present at DefExpo 2020, plans to bag $2.5 billion in new deals.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh hinted that India and South Korea may partner to develop AI-enabled military technology at the DefExpo 2020. The expo is set to kick off tomorrow in Lucknow. Although he didn't mention what expertise will be exchanged, he claims that the agreement will "leverage mutual strengths and digital application and other advanced technologies."

Singh met with South Korea's defence minister, Jeong Kyeongdoo-Doo in New Delhi earlier today. The countries exchanged a list of possible areas for defence cooperation.

At the time of writing this article, the Korea Defence Industry Association, Korea Aerospace Industries and Hanwha are the three South Korea defence manufacturers confirmed at the 5-day event. However, Business Korea claims that ten companies, including LIF Nex1, will be present at the DefExpo.

"The outlook for Korea's defence industry has been murky for immediate and long-term. The Indian deal can be an impetus," a South Korean industry official told Pulse News.

For South Korea, India is the world's second-largest buyer of weapons having spent $13.9 billion in 2018 — and the DefExpo 2020 is the perfect opportunity for them to try and crack that shell. Not only is the expo the biggest defence industry event in Asia, but it's also the biggest one for India till date.

Hanwha Aiming For $2.5 Billion

Currently, Hanwha collaborates with Larsen & Toubro and the Indian Army to produce the K9 Vajra-T. As much as 80% of the tank is manufactured and produced in India. According to Indian Defence Industries, Hanwha is looking to more opportunities for collaboration — especially in ammunition and defence electronics.

At DefExpo, Hanwha's main attraction will be its self-propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System along with other products like artillery systems K9/K10 and the K200 armoured personnel carrier.

"We are planning to showcase Hybrid Biho at the exhibition for the first time to impress the Indian army officials," a Hanwha Defence official told Korea Times. "We hope it gets recognition for its excellent quality and brings a positive effect to the delayed contract process," he said.

According to the local publication, the Korean defence giant is aiming to bag deals worth $2.5 billion at the exhibition.

KAI Is Looking To The Indian Air Force

KAI-EUROCOPTER KUH-1 Surion twin-engine, transport utility helicopter

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is also looking to bag some new deals at the DefExpo 2020. It plans on putting its KT-1 basic training aircraft centre stage in hopes of wooing the Indian Air Force.

"Currently, the Indian air force is changing its basic trainers and we want to supply our planes there," a KAI official told Korea Times. "We will showcase the FA-05, a light attack aircraft, and Korean Utility Helicopter named Surion too, but the KT-1 will be our main item at DefExpo 2020," he added.

South Korean companies won't be the only ones competing for attention from the Armed Forces. The exhibition will feature international majors like Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin and Thales.

This will also be the first DefExpo to host an India-Africa Summit. Overall, there will be over 1.000 defence firms from over 40 countries present at the DefExpo 2020.