Peacekeeping: Protecting The Protectors


October 21, 2020: South Korea apparently has its first export customer for its locally developed K152 wheeled APC. At least one K152 was seen in Nigeria where it will be used in counter-terrorism operations. The K152 is a larger version of the K151 KLTV (Korean Light Tactical Vehicle). The K152 is better protected (against bombs and mines) than the K151 and has a raised rear roof, where four troops sit. That raised roof allows four small bulletproof windows with firing ports beneath. This allows four troops to stand, scanning the outside, ready to stick their rifle barrel out the firing port if a threat is detected. This is a very useful feature for Nigerian troops, who are still battling Boko Haram, an Islamic terror group that has been a major threat in the Moslem majority north since 2013. Boko Haram no longer controls territory but they are a threat to road traffic, and will even ambush convoys escorted by troops. The K152 is excellent for convoy protection as well as combat patrols through areas where Boko Haram is very active. Nigeria already has over a hundred heavier MRAPs, which weigh nearly three times as much as the K151 and are more expensive to operate.

The KLTV is a 5.7-ton 4x4 armored vehicle that is protected against machine-gun fire and shell fragments. It is designed to quickly accept add-on armor. It can accommodate a manned gun turret or unmanned RWS (Remote Weapons Station) armed with a machine-gun or automatic grenade launcher. Two basic configurations are available; four seat or two-seat with cargo space. Payload is one or two tons depending on configuration. Top road speed is 130 kilometers an hour and max road range on internal fuel is 540 kilometers.

The K152 version of KLTV has a longer rear bay, which seats four troops, with these passengers facing each other and each seat beneath a firing port and small bulletproof window. The other four seats are in the conventional front facing arrangement. No specific stats were released on the K152 other than it is based on the K151. The K152 is a bit longer and apparently weighs about seven tons and can also accommodate add-0n armor.

The KLTV is similar to the American JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) and serves the same function. The 6.4-ton JLTV replaces the 4-ton armored HMMWV (2.4 tons unarmored) and is heavier because the JLTV is more robust and better protected. JLTV was first delivered to a few troops in 2015 for testing. There are over a dozen different models of the JLTV, including ambulances and command vehicles. There are two basic models, one with two seats and another with four. It is also possible to have six-seat version for carrying more troops. Payload of JLTV is 1.2 to 2 tons depending on vehicle accessories, like a RWS. JLTV can also carry small missiles or EW (Electronic Warfare) equipment. The hummer itself replaced the 1.1-ton jeep and the 3-ton M37 "3/4 ton" truck in the 1980s. The JLTV marks a notable design direction for tactical vehicles. The JLTV is designed to absorb combat damage and be quickly equipped with two different armor kits. In effect, the World War II concept of the unarmored light vehicle for moving men and material around the battlefield has been radically changed by the Iraq War and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan. American troops began receiving JLTV in 2016 and there are now 15,000 in service or on order.

South Korea did not build a hummer-type vehicle to replace its 1.5-ton K131 jeep and instead went straight to the LTV. Like the United States, the KLTV will not replace all K131s but will provide a protected vehicle for use in situations where the K131 would be very vulnerable to gunfire, roadside bombs and mines. The K131 was introduced in 1997, twelve years after the hummer. South Korea had plenty of time to incorporate some hummer features

South Korea has been developing its own military manufacturing capabilities since the 1990s and in the last decade has become a major exporter of this equipment. Currently South Korea exports nearly $4 billion worth of weapons and military equipment a year.




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