K30 Biho is considered one of the most dangerous close-range defense systems in the world. Possessing two 30mm caliber guns and four 7km range missiles, South Korea’s K30 Biho complex can easily shoot down aerial targets from North Korea.
The North Korean Air Force currently possesses many types of low-flying aircraft, hiding in front of enemy air defense radars to deploy special forces and surprise attacks. In addition, North Korea has a squadron of unmanned aircraft to spy. This forced South Korea to deploy short range air defense systems. From 1983 to 1991, the Korean Agency for Defense Development researched and developed a low altitude anti-aircraft artillery complex, highly responsive and maneuverable, to strengthen air defense capabilities for ground forces, the K30 Biho. K30 project is the first indigenous advanced weapon system designed by Korean researchers and engineers.
K30 is classified as self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon, which can operate under day or night conditions. Once completed, the 26.5-ton vehicle is 6.77 meters long, 3.3 meters wide, and 4 meters high. K30 is operated by a four-person crew. The turret is located in the center of the hull, integrated with weapons and electronic sensors. The main weapon of the K30 is the 30mm twin guns, which are located on either side of the turret.
The guns had a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute, an effective air defense range of 3,000 meters. Each gun is pre-loaded with 300 bullets, which can fire high explosive fragmentation bullets to counter aerial targets. To increase air defense effectiveness, in 2013, a new version of the K30 Biho appeared, equipped with Shingung surface-to-air missiles, increasing the range to 7km. Two pods each containing two missiles are mounted, one of each side of the turret. Design integration with the missiles was completed in 2014, by October 2015 the system was in full-rate production and was in service by late 2018.
Korea’s self-propelled anti-aircraft system is equipped with advanced electronics, including a TPS-830K surveillance and fire-control radar, an electro-optical targeting system, panoramic periscope, forward looking infrared system, laser rangefinder, thermal sight, a TV camera, and a digital fire-control system. The radar is fitted with friend-or-foe identification system with range of 17 to 20km. The radar system provides ballistic calculation data for the digital fire control system to direct the aim of the electro-optical targeting system, which then aligns the 30 mm guns with the target for accurate fire.
The K30 is said to be a highly accurate weapon system, proven to be more accurate and price competitive than similar systems manufactured in other countries. The entire air defense system was mounted on the chassis of the K200 infantry fighting vehicle, with some changes. The suspension adds an extra wheel, a total of six double-tired road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front and the track idler at rear. The K30 Biho has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. The are two banks of six smoke grenade dischargers are carried to allow the vehicle to produce a self-screening effect as needed.
Due to a nearly doubled weight compared to the K200, the K30 is equipped with the German MAN D2848MT turbocharged diesel engine, developing 520 hp. The old transmission system has also been replaced by HMPT500-3EK to accommodate a more powerful engine. The modified chassis largely retains the protection and amphibious capability of the original chassis. The vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 60 km/h, a range of 500km.
K30 Biho’s armor can protect the crew against small arms fire and artillery shell fragments. Vehicles are also equipped with standard NBC protection system and automatic fire extinguishing system.
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In 2006 a contract has been awarded to supply this systems to the South Korean Army. It is also offered for export customers. According to the latest information, India has signed a $1.6 billion contract with the South Korean to provide K30 Biho self-propelled air defense systems. This was a rather surprising deal because India was previously negotiating a contract with a value equivalent to Russian-made 9K22 Tunguska air-defense complexes.
Priced at approximately $12.1 million per unit, plus a high localization rate that gives K30 a competitive advantage. According to information published by Indian media, India has chosen South Korean self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery systems because this complex better meets the tactical requirements of the Indian Army. The K30 is considered more suitable for joint combat with existing Indian army weapons than similar air defense systems from Russia.