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Hanwha Aerospace From South Korea Announces Strategic Partnership with Romania to Develop Weapons.

Hanwha Aerospace Company from South Korea has partnered significantly with Romania’s National Institute for Aerospace Research, “Elie Carafoli” (INCAS), for collaborative research and development in weapon systems. The contract was signed on May 22, 2024, during the opening day of BSDA 2024 in Bucharest.
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During BSDA 2024, a defense exhibition that was held in Romania from 22 to 24 May 2024, Hanwha Aerospace displayed its AS-21 Redback IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle.  (Picture source: Army Recognition Group)

This agreement underscores Hanwha Aerospace’s commitment to strengthening ties with Romania through localization and joint R&D initiatives. The partnership will involve joint research activities, including wind tunnel tests of precision-guided missiles. Both organizations are also open to expanding their collaboration into the aerospace sector beyond land systems, aiming to create a synergistic effect in aerospace engineering.

With a 75-year tradition in aerospace engineering, fluid dynamics, and applied aerodynamics, INCAS is Romania's leading research institution in aerospace sciences. The institute has been pivotal in major national aeronautical civil and military applications projects. It plays a significant role in EU research and development policy under the FlightPath 2050 vision and the Horizon Europe program.

Romania has recently shown a keen interest in acquiring defense products from South Korea, particularly from Hanwha Aerospace. The most notable development is Romania's near-finalization of a contract to purchase K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers. This deal, estimated to be worth approximately $751 million, marks Hanwha Aerospace’s first major defense contract with Romania and signifies a significant expansion of Hanwha's presence in the European defense market​ (Checkpoint Bravo)​​ (DefenseMirror)​.

This prospective agreement includes the procurement of 54 K9 howitzers, which will be integrated into Romania's military modernization efforts. These howitzers are renowned for their advanced capabilities and have been deployed by several NATO countries, enhancing Hanwha Aerospace’s reputation as a European defense supplier​.

Hanwha Aerospace also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Romania’s state-owned defense company Romarm to explore further cooperation. This MoU covers the potential export of not only the K9 howitzers but also the AS-21 Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The Romanian government, represented by high-ranking officials, has strongly supported this collaboration, highlighting the strategic importance of such partnerships for Romania’s defense industry​.

These initiatives are part of Romania's broader strategy to modernize its military capabilities and strengthen its defense posture, especially in light of the regional security dynamics. The potential deals and collaborations with Hanwha Aerospace are seen as critical steps towards achieving these objectives, with the Romanian defense ministry actively involved in the decision-making process regarding these procurements​.

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