Hyundai Rotem is expecting to commence production of 600 6x6 KW1 and 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicles (WAVs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) from 2018 at a rate of about 100 vehicles each year, the company said. These will be designated K806 and K808 in RoKA service, respectively.Interesting. So the 6x6 will be used for rear echelon work and the 8x8 is for high intensity combat. That explains why they're building two different models.
Speaking to IHS Jane's at the DX Korea 2016 exhibition in Goyang city, South Korea, principal research engineer at Hyundai Rotem's research and development centre Shin Yong-Cheol said the company expects a firm order from the South Korean government by October, which will call for a batch of 16 low-rate initial production vehicles to be delivered to the RoKA for field trials scheduled to last till the end of 2017. Production will commence thereafter from 2018.
According to Shin, the order of 600 vehicles will comprise 100 K806 and 500 K808 platforms. These will be outfitted with a one-person protected weapon station armed with an M2 HB machine gun. IHS Jane's understands that there are no plans by the RoKA to equip the new vehicles with remote weapon stations to reduce acquisition costs, although Shin said the company is ready to supply these systems if requested.
Both the 16-tonne K806 and 20-tonne K808 share many of the same performance characteristics. According to the latest specifications supplied by Hyundai Rotem, the vehicles are powered by a 420 hp Hyundai Motor Company diesel engine that provides a maximum road speed of 100 km/h via a seven-speed automatic transmission. They are also operated by a two-person crew with accommodation for up to nine fully equipped troops.
However, Shin explained that the concept of operations for the vehicles is quite distinct, with the K806 aimed at performing rear echelon roles such as the defence of civilian and military facilities and logistics convoy protection while the K808 will conduct high-intensity combat operations alongside the service's K1A1 and K2 main battle tanks.
The other thing that caught my attention is the weights. 20 tons? That's light in today's market. I wonder how much protection they're giving up for what I'm assuming is increased mobility.
Regardless the S. Koreans bear watching. As funky as this rig might look its got an almost perfect hull form for amphibious operations.