Kia developing next-gen military combat vehicles

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Kia has begun research and development into a new round of military vehicles.

Kia is looking to strengthen its position to win military contracts. The company has revealed plans to develop a new standard platform for next-generation military vehicles. The project is a joint effort between Kia and the South Korean government and part of Kia’s larger Plan S mid- to long-term strategy.

The development program will replace the Korean military’s current 2.5- and 5.0-ton vehicles. It will also develop new bullet resistant vehicles. Each of the standard vehicles will be equipped with the latest commercial technologies, including a 7.0-liter Diesel engine and transmission system, anti-lock brakes, an anti-spin regulator, rear parking assist, around view monitor, satellite navigation, and hot wire seats.

The platform approach will allow Kia to develop additional vehicles for derivations in the future. This includes models with a range of weapons systems and those with more specialized technologies. The vehicles, which use the bare chassis of the Kia Mohave SUV, are also able to be used in a variety of fields outside the military including industrial and leisure.

Kia has developed a conceptual brief of the All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). The company is actively carrying out advanced research and development into several areas of vehicle tech including autonomous driving technology, which Kia says could help deliver supplies.

Additionally, efforts are being made to understand how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can have a place in future vehicle endeavors. Kia’s parent company, Hyundai continues to strengthen their position in regard to the future of hydrogen in the place of gasoline as a fuel for vehicles. Fuel cells can also supply electricity in combat environments.

Kia will begin manufacturing prototypes of mid-size standard vehicles this year and have them undergo evaluations by the Korean Government in 2021.

The technology and knowledge gained from this testing is expected to be employed in future road-going SUVs.

Kia has already produced a range of vehicles for the Korean military, among others. This includes 0.25-, 1.25-, 2.5- and 5-ton models. To-date, Kia has supplied nine model types and 100 derivatives, and produced a total of 140,000 military vehicles.

Kia created Korea’s first multipurpose tactical vehicle, a light tactical vehicle that replaces the existing 0.25- and 1.25-ton vehicles. The model was equipped with the engine, automatic transmission, and brake system from the Mohave, and added commercial technologies and military specifications, including electronic four-wheel drive.

The automaker intends to have their vehicles ready for military deployment from 2024, following standardization and initial production tests.

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