South Korea to Buy Textron Anti-Armor Weapons, U.S. Says

South Korea’s military is buying one of the top anti-armor weapons developed by the Pentagon, a Textron Inc. system designed to destroy tanks and vehicles.

The Republic of Korea will receive by 2016 its first 361 war-ready versions of the anti-armor Sensor Fuzed Weapon under a $190 million contract, the U.S. Defense Department said today. The armament is made by Textron’s defense systems unit.

South Korea previously bought 22 of the weapons for testing. The new deliveries are part of improved capabilities the South Korean government is investing in before a planned December 2015 handover of the nation’s defenses against North Korea from American command.

The aircraft-dropped weapons, made by Providence, Rhode Island-based Textron, will enhance South Korea’s capability to “defeat a wide range of enemy defenses including fortifications, armored vehicles, and maritime threats,” according to a Pentagon statement.

Korea also is taking delivery in 2016 of the first of 36 AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopters capable of spotting targets while hovering behind ridgelines and hills. U.S. Army forces in South Korea already are armed with the copters made by Chicago-based Boeing Co.

South Korea also is expected this year to commit to buying its first Global Hawk reconnaissance drones made by Northrop Grumman Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing military planning. South Korea’s purchase of as many as four drones, along with contracts for parts, training and logistical support may be valued at as much as $1.2 billion, the Pentagon estimates.

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