Since 2013, this is the first time South Korea has held a military parade.
More than 4,000 soldiers with tanks, armored vehicles and advanced missiles rolled through the streets of Seoul to show off military power. Prominent among them are the KAAV7 amphibious assault vehicles. The parade took place amid deteriorating relations with nuclear-armed North Korea.
The event comes as President Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative who took office last year, takes a more hawkish stance on North Korea, deepening security ties with the US and Japan, and making displays of weapons and military drills a cornerstone of his strategy to counter Pyongyang’s evolving weapons programmes.
KAAV-7A1 has a length of 8.16m, a width of 3.27m, a height of 3.31m, and a combat weight of about 24 tons. The armored vehicle is designed in the shape of a boat for the ability to swim in the sea no less than the Russian BTR armored vehicles, even experts say that the swimming ability of the KAAV-7A1 is stronger than the BTR.
The fully welded hull protects the crew from small arms fire, shrapnel and explosive shells. To suppress residual penetration of shaped-charge ammunitions, the state-of-the-art enhanced applique armor (EAAK) has been added to the hull. Other improvements on KAAV-7A1 which add to vehicle survivability is the installation of auto fire suppression and NBC protection system.
The KAAV-7A1 is a highly maneuverable amphibious vehicle. They travel 13km/h in the water and 72km/h on the land enabling them to achieve effective ship to shore transporting operations in a variety of adverse sea/land conditions. In addition, the vehicle has the ability to negotiate 3-meter plunging surf, difficult beaches, and rough terrain.
The KAAV-7A1 is equipped with a new upgraded weapon station that is more reliable and provides more firepower than previous models. It mounts a K4 40mm grenade launcher, as well as a K6 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The K4 can fire either KM383 high-explosive (HE) or K212 HE dual-purpose rounds at a cyclic rate of 250 rds/min to an effective range of 1,500 m. The K6 fires at a rate of 450–600 rds/min and has a maximum effective range of 1,830 m.
According to the manufacturer, the Remote controlled weapon station is stabilised and provided with both daytime and thermal infrared night cameras, and an eye-safe laser rangefinder with a maximum range of 5,500 m. The fire-control system provides an automatic target tracking function, as well as automatic ballistic calculation and fire correction functions.