South Korea’s procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) reportedly announced plans to spend around $3.9bn on defence research and development (R&D) in 2021.

The news comes after South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) announced a 2021 defence budget of $48bn in December 2020.

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The MND has set aside funding of KRW16.96tn ($15bn) in 2021 for force modernisation, including procurement and R&D. It represents an increase of 1.9%.

The country’s 2020 defence budget was raised by 7.4% to nearly $41.29bn.
The latest R&D investment under DAPA’s 2021 plan aims to strengthen its capabilities to secure advanced technologies, reported Yonhap News Agency.

It is an increase of 10% from the KRW3.9tn ($3.5bn) that was allotted last year for R&D projects.

In addition, the investment includes KRW631.8bn ($573.3m) for core weapon technologies, according to DAPA.

It also covers indigenous weapons parts and creating consortiums comprising companies, universities and research centres.

DAPA noted that it will assist the transfer of defence technologies to the civilian sector to better respond and ‘cope with disasters’.

An agency official was quoted by Yonhap as saying: “We will share our policy direction with other organisations and strengthen cooperation for the development of our defence science technology and the growth of the industry.”