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Arms Sold:

Popeye

Spike-NLOS

C41 System

HERO

TF/TA System

Companies:

Skip to:

South Korea

Introduction:

 

Israel and South Korea enjoy a thriving arms trade and strong diplomatic relationship. After tension over a contract that was awarded to Italy over South Korea 2012, arms trade has continued consistently since. Deals have mainly been for missiles, drones, and radars.

Israel – South Korea Relations:

 

Israel and South Korea initiated diplomatic relations in 1962 although during Korean War in 1950 Israel sent $100,000 of medical and food supplies to the South Korean government. In the 1960s Israel aided Korean agricultural, water, and security infrastructure, and supplied arms such as uzis. In the 1970s South Korean policy shifted its favour towards Israel’s Arab neighbours in response to the 1972 and 1979 oil crises, during which time it stated support for Palestinian right to self-determination,[1] but relations were renewed in 1992.

Numerous diplomatic visits have been made between the countries’ representatives since 2000, most notably by President Shimon Peres to Seoul in June 2010.[2]

South Korea controls a large proportion of the Israel automobile and cellular telephone markets. Since 2000 the countries have secured financial and hi-tech cooperation, and in 2019 signed Israel’s first free-trade agreement with an Asian country.

Military Relations:

 

Military trade started in the 1990s, notably with IAI/Elta selling four early-warning aircraft for $1b in 1996, and the sale of Harpy drones the following year. South Korea lost to Italy in a bid to supply aircraft training to the Israeli military in 2012, leading to South Korean officials threatening to cancel defense deals with Israel.

Tension over the Italy deal has subsided and relations have renewed with Joint Ventures and trade deals established in the years since. South Korea has expressed interest in purchasing the Iron Dome system, but with no deal signed. Deals have mainly involved missiles, drones, and radars.

 

Joint Ventures

2017 – IAI and Hankuk Carbon to jointly make drones for South Korean market. (IAI, Hankuk Carbon)[3]

2016 – UVision and Firstec to co-produce HERO-30 loitering munitions. (UVision, Firstec)[4]

2013 – Rafael acquires 49% of PineTelecom shares with agreement to continue co-producing C4I systems. (Rafael, Pine Telecom)[5]

2013 – Elbit and Sharp Aviation to conduct maintenance, repair, and production of advanced aviation systems for military applications. Also to deal with research and development in the fields of systems and avionics for existing and future projects. (Sharp Elbit Systems Aerospace Inc. (SESA))[6]

2011 – Elbit working with Korean Aerospace Industries to provide system package for naval version of Surion helicopter. (Elbit, KAI)[7]

2001 – JV establishing Research and Development Foundation, Koril R&D.[8]

Usage of Israeli Arms:

 

Heron UAV – South Korea allegedly sent Heron UAVs into North Korean airspace.[9]

Human Rights Violations:

 

There is widespread discrimination against women in South Korea, with relatively few women occupying decision-making positions, and a 35% wage gap between men and women. In April 2020 however, the Constitutional Court overturned the criminalization of abortion. There is also an issue of digital sex crimes, mainly secret filming of sex acts and nonconsensual sharing of footage or images.[10]

South Korea also seems to be reneging on its commitments to protecting North Korean human rights, failing to implement the 2016 North Korean Human Rights Law, and protect escapees from the neighboring country. In 2019 South Korea deported two North Koreans to face murder charges in their country, and days later removed its name from a UN coalition supporting North Korean human rights.

There has been a recent uprising in anti-LGBTQ+ rights, often Christian. A law that bans same-sex sexual conduct in the military is currently under review.[11] Although South Korea is party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, it refuses most refugees who aren’t from North Korea, including Yemeni refugees in 2018.[12]

Sales Records Table:

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc

Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
100 Harpy Loitering munition drones
IAI
1997 (1998-2000)
SIPRI
100 AGM-142A/Popeye-1 ASMs
Rafael
1997 (2002)
$100-125m
incl. modernization of F-4E combat aircraft, from US production line
SIPRI
60 EL/M-2032 Combat AC radars
IAI/Elta
2009 (2013-2016)
for FA-50 combat aircrafts produced in South Korea
SIPRI, https://www.israeldefense.co.il/he/node/30321
2 EL/M-2080 Green Pine Air search radars.
IAI/Elta
2009 (2012)
For use with Patriot SAM systems in AMD-Cell air defence/ABM system
SIPRI
4 Spike-NLOS SSM Launchers
Rafael
2011 (2013)
for sandcat APV
SIPRI
67 Spike-NLOS SSM/ASM
Rafael
2011 (2013)
for ground-based launcher
SIPRI
upgrade of naval version of Surion helicopter
Elbit
2011
JV with Korean Aerospace Industries
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/elbit-systems-presents-naval-helicopter-systems
Upgrade of C-130 cargo aircraft
Elbit
2012
$62m
JV with Korean Aerospace Industries
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/elbit-upgrade-south-korean-aircraft
maintenance, repair and production of advanced aviation systems
Elbit
2013
JV between Elbit and Sharp Aviation, for military applications
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/elbit-establishing-south-korean-company#:~:text=Elbit%20Systems%20is%20constructing%20a,increasing%20the%20percentage%20to%2050%25.
C4I systems
Rafael
2013
JV with PineTelecom
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/rafael-acquires-partial-ownership-south-korean-company#:~:text=Rafael%20Advanced%20Defense%20Systems%20signed,developer%20of%20advanced%20communication%20technologies.
60 Spike-NLOS mk5
Rafael
2013 (2015-2016)
for AW-159 helicopters
SIPRI
1 EL/M-2248 MF-STAR Multifuntion radar
IAI/Elta
2015
For 1 Dokdo AALS produced in South Korea
SIPRI
3 Heron UAVs
IAI
2015 (2016)
#27m
SIPRI
HERO-30 loitering munitions
UVision
2016
JV with Firstec
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/uvision-collaborates-firstec-market-its-loitering-systems-south-korea
Underwater Sound System
Elbit
2018
JV with GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc
2 EL/M-2080 Green Pine air search radars
IAI/Elta
2019
$292m
SIPRI
TF/TA systems
Elbit
2020
$43m
for RoKAF’s future KF-X fighter aircraft
https://www.janes.com/article/94194/elbit-systems-to-provide-tf-ta-systems-for-rokaf-s-future-kf-x-fighter-aircraft

South Korea

Israel and South Korea enjoy a thriving arms trade and strong diplomatic relationship. After tension over a contract that was awarded to Italy over South Korea 2012, arms trade has continued consistently since. Deals have mainly been for missiles, drones, and radars.

Israel and South Korea initiated diplomatic relations in 1962 although during Korean War in 1950 Israel sent $100,000 of medical and food supplies to the South Korean government. In the 1960s Israel aided Korean agricultural, water, and security infrastructure, and supplied arms such as uzis. In the 1970s South Korean policy shifted its favour towards Israel’s Arab neighbours in response to the 1972 and 1979 oil crises, during which time it stated support for Palestinian right to self-determination,[1] but relations were renewed in 1992.

Numerous diplomatic visits have been made between the countries’ representatives since 2000, most notably by President Shimon Peres to Seoul in June 2010.[2]

South Korea controls a large proportion of the Israel automobile and cellular telephone markets. Since 2000 the countries have secured financial and hi-tech cooperation, and in 2019 signed Israel’s first free-trade agreement with an Asian country.

Military trade started in the 1990s, notably with IAI/Elta selling four early-warning aircraft for $1b in 1996, and the sale of Harpy drones the following year. South Korea lost to Italy in a bid to supply aircraft training to the Israeli military in 2012, leading to South Korean officials threatening to cancel defense deals with Israel.

Tension over the Italy deal has subsided and relations have renewed with Joint Ventures and trade deals established in the years since. South Korea has expressed interest in purchasing the Iron Dome system, but with no deal signed. Deals have mainly involved missiles, drones, and radars.

Joint Ventures

2017 – IAI and Hankuk Carbon to jointly make drones for South Korean market. (IAI, Hankuk Carbon)[3]

2016 – UVision and Firstec to co-produce HERO-30 loitering munitions. (UVision, Firstec)[4]

2013 – Rafael acquires 49% of PineTelecom shares with agreement to continue co-producing C4I systems. (Rafael, Pine Telecom)[5]

2013 – Elbit and Sharp Aviation to conduct maintenance, repair, and production of advanced aviation systems for military applications. Also to deal with research and development in the fields of systems and avionics for existing and future projects. (Sharp Elbit Systems Aerospace Inc. (SESA))[6]

2011 – Elbit working with Korean Aerospace Industries to provide system package for naval version of Surion helicopter. (Elbit, KAI)[7]

2001 – JV establishing Research and Development Foundation, Koril R&D.[8]

There is widespread discrimination against women in South Korea, with relatively few women occupying decision-making positions, and a 35% wage gap between men and women. In April 2020 however, the Constitutional Court overturned the criminalization of abortion. There is also an issue of digital sex crimes, mainly secret filming of sex acts and nonconsensual sharing of footage or images.[10]

South Korea also seems to be reneging on its commitments to protecting North Korean human rights, failing to implement the 2016 North Korean Human Rights Law, and protect escapees from the neighboring country. In 2019 South Korea deported two North Koreans to face murder charges in their country, and days later removed its name from a UN coalition supporting North Korean human rights.

There has been a recent uprising in anti-LGBTQ+ rights, often Christian. A law that bans same-sex sexual conduct in the military is currently under review.[11] Although South Korea is party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, it refuses most refugees who aren’t from North Korea, including Yemeni refugees in 2018.[12]

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc

Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
100 Harpy Loitering munition drones
IAI
1997 (1998-2000)
SIPRI
100 AGM-142A/Popeye-1 ASMs
Rafael
1997 (2002)
$100-125m
incl. modernization of F-4E combat aircraft, from US production line
SIPRI
60 EL/M-2032 Combat AC radars
IAI/Elta
2009 (2013-2016)
for FA-50 combat aircrafts produced in South Korea
SIPRI, https://www.israeldefense.co.il/he/node/30321
2 EL/M-2080 Green Pine Air search radars.
IAI/Elta
2009 (2012)
For use with Patriot SAM systems in AMD-Cell air defence/ABM system
SIPRI
4 Spike-NLOS SSM Launchers
Rafael
2011 (2013)
for sandcat APV
SIPRI
67 Spike-NLOS SSM/ASM
Rafael
2011 (2013)
for ground-based launcher
SIPRI
upgrade of naval version of Surion helicopter
Elbit
2011
JV with Korean Aerospace Industries
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/elbit-systems-presents-naval-helicopter-systems
Upgrade of C-130 cargo aircraft
Elbit
2012
$62m
JV with Korean Aerospace Industries
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/elbit-upgrade-south-korean-aircraft
maintenance, repair and production of advanced aviation systems
Elbit
2013
JV between Elbit and Sharp Aviation, for military applications
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/elbit-establishing-south-korean-company#:~:text=Elbit%20Systems%20is%20constructing%20a,increasing%20the%20percentage%20to%2050%25.
C4I systems
Rafael
2013
JV with PineTelecom
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/rafael-acquires-partial-ownership-south-korean-company#:~:text=Rafael%20Advanced%20Defense%20Systems%20signed,developer%20of%20advanced%20communication%20technologies.
60 Spike-NLOS mk5
Rafael
2013 (2015-2016)
for AW-159 helicopters
SIPRI
1 EL/M-2248 MF-STAR Multifuntion radar
IAI/Elta
2015
For 1 Dokdo AALS produced in South Korea
SIPRI
3 Heron UAVs
IAI
2015 (2016)
#27m
SIPRI
HERO-30 loitering munitions
UVision
2016
JV with Firstec
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/content/uvision-collaborates-firstec-market-its-loitering-systems-south-korea
Underwater Sound System
Elbit
2018
JV with GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc
2 EL/M-2080 Green Pine air search radars
IAI/Elta
2019
$292m
SIPRI
TF/TA systems
Elbit
2020
$43m
for RoKAF’s future KF-X fighter aircraft
https://www.janes.com/article/94194/elbit-systems-to-provide-tf-ta-systems-for-rokaf-s-future-kf-x-fighter-aircraft