South Korea has unveiled a new armoured amphibious vehicle after eight years of development.

The K21, a variant of the K200 personnel carrier, weighs 25t, has a top speed of 70km/h and is armed with a mounted, stabilised 40mm auto cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicle is capable of shooting down slow-moving helicopters or aircraft from up to 7km away.

South Korea’s Agency for Defence Development head of the mechanised armament systems department, Kim In-Woo, says the K21 ‘will greatly enhance the Korean Army’s independent combat capability’.

“We believe the K21 is more competitive than existing top-class infantry fighting vehicles, such as the M2A3 with the US Army and the BMP-3 of Russia, in capabilities and price,” he says.

A K21 unit will cost about $3.5mn and mass production is expected to start in 2009.