Republic of Korea Army

 Seal of the Republic of Korea Army  Flag of South Korea  Flag of South Korea

Note: Seal of the Republic of Korea Army // Flag of South Korea // Flag of South Korea



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Republic of Korea Army

Republic of Korea Army
대한민국 육군
Daehanminguk Yuk-gun

Coat of arms of the Republic of Korea Army
Founded September 5, 1948 (1948-09-05)
Country  South Korea
Type Army
Role Ground warfare
Size 495,000 (2014)
552 aircraft (2014)
Part of Republic of Korea Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Gyeryong, South Chungcheong, South Korea
Nickname(s) "ROK Army", "ROKA", "South Korean army", "SKA"
Motto(s) "A Strong Friend, Republic of Korea Army"
(Korean: 《강한친구 대한민국 육군》)
March "Army Anthem" (Korean: 《육군가》, translit. Yukgunga)
Mascot(s) Hogugi (Korean: 호국이)
Equipment 2,500 main battle tanks, 5,800 artillery pieces, 2,700 armored fighting vehicles, 60 guided missile systems, 600 helicopters
Engagements Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War
Chief of Army Staff General Kim Yong-woo

The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA; Korean: 대한민국 육군; Hanja: 大韓民國 陸軍; Revised Romanization: Daehanminguk Yuk-gun), also known as the ROK Army, is the army of South Korea, responsible for ground-based warfare. It is the largest of the military branches of the South Korean armed forces with 495,000 members as of 2014. This size is maintained through conscription; South Korean men must complete 21 months of military service between the age of 18 and 35.

The army will take the brunt of the personnel reduction planned as part of the Defense Reform 307. Associated with this personnel reduction would be a significant reduction in the ROK Army force structure, in particular decreasing the current force of 47 divisions (active duty/reserve) and 495,000 soldiers down to a force of about 38 divisions (active duty/reserve) and 400,000 soldiers.


Further information: History of South Korea

The modern South Korean army traces its lineage back to the Gwangmu Reform, when the Beolgyegoon was established by Emperor Gojong in 1881. The 1st of every October is celebrated in South Korea as Armed Forces Day. It commemorates the day during the Korean War when units of the ROK Army first crossed the 38th Parallel, thus leading the UN Coalition north into North Korean territory for the first time.


The South Korean army is structured to operate in both the mountainous terrain native to the Korean Peninsula (70% mountainous) and in North Korea with its 950,000 strong Korean People's Army Ground Force, two-thirds of which is permanently garrisoned in the frontline near the DMZ. The current administration has initiated a program over the next two decades to design a purely domestic means of self-defense, whereby South Korea would be able to fully counter a North Korean attack.

The ROK Army was formerly organized into 3 armies: the First Army (FROKA), Third Army (TROKA) and Second Operational Command. Each with its own headquarters, corps, and divisions. The Third Army was responsible for the defense of the capital as well as the western section of the DMZ. The First Army was responsible for the defense of the eastern section of the DMZ whereas the 2nd OC formed the rearguard.

Under a restructuring plan aimed at reducing redundancy, the Second ROK Army was converted as the Second Operational Command on October 31, 2007, and the First and Third ROK Armies will be merged as the First Operations Command in 2014.


The army consists of 495,000 troops, approximately 2,400-2,500 tanks, 2,700 armored fighting vehicles, 5,800 artillery pieces, 60 guided missile systems, and 600 helicopters as of 2014. Main battle tank types include: 880 M48 Patton series and its upgrades such as M48A3K, M48A5, and M48A5K, 33 Soviet T-80U and 2 T-80UK (given by Russia to pay off debt), as well as 1,524 K1A1 and K1 tanks, which bear a 120 mm smoothbore gun and are of local manufacture. The future replacement for the K1 and K1A1 MBTs has been named the K2 Black Panther (흑표;黑豹 Heukpyo), which will be fitted with a 1500 hp MTU-based engine, 55-caliber 120 mm main gun with autoloader. The new tank will also feature radar equipment as well as all-bearing laser detection and defense systems, anti-missile active protection, and heavy reactive armor and sensor package comparable to the American M1A2 Abrams and German Leopard 2A6. The ROK Army is planning to field approximately 390 Black Panthers.

In addition Republic of Korea manufactures the K-9 howitzer which have been exported to Turkey as the T-155 howitzer as well as the ZMA series TIFV's which saw action in UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) as part of the Malaysian peacekeeping forces. A variation of the K200, the KAFV's can be retrofitted to bear a 90 mm cannon, 40 mm grenade turret, M230-1 Chain gun Turret, or MK-30 Chaingun Turret. A replacement for K200 series IFVs are currently being tested, designated as K21 KNIFV (Korea Next generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle), which will have various capabilities for both land and naval warfare. The initial production is set for 2008, with the ROKA planning to field approximately 1,000 units until 2015.

The K21 KNIFV's chassis will be constructed entirely out of fiberglass, reducing the vehicle's load and enabling it to travel at higher speeds without bulky and powerful engines. When constructed, the NIFV will be lighter than other IFVs, including the American Bradley series and Russian BMP series, increasing both speed and payload.

The ROK Army also fields the mobile K-SAM "Pegasus"(천마/天馬; Cheonma), fitted with 8 missiles that fly at maximum speeds of mach 2.6, and the K-30 "Biho" series, which features a 30 mm twin gun system for anti-aerial fire support.

Besides having vehicles and equipment of their own design as well as American models, the ROK Army also possesses inventories of Russian-built AFVs, including BMP-3 IFVs and T-80U MBTs, given by the Russian government to pay off the financial debt owed to South Korea. Other notable foreign equipment in service with the ROK Army includes the Mistral MANPADS.

A new infantry rifle, the Daewoo K11 entered service in 2010. The overall concept of this weapon is similar to the American OICW.


Republic of Korea Army Headquarters (대한민국 육군본부)

  • Army Personnel Command (육군인사사령부)
  • 2nd Security Group (2경비단)
  • Army Missile Command 'ENDLESSNESS' (유도탄사령부 '무극부대')
  • Air Operations Command 'PHOENIX' (항공작전사령부 '불사조부대')
  • 1st Aviation Brigade (1항공여단)
  • 2nd Aviation Brigade (2항공여단)
  • Capital Defense Command 'SHIELD' (수도방위사령부 '방패부대')
  • 1st Chemical Defense Brigade (1화학전방호여단)
  • 1st Security Group (1경비단)
  • 122nd Signal Brigade (122통신여단)
  • 10th Air Defense Artillery Group (10방공단)
  • 1113rd Engineer Group (1113공병단)
  • 52nd Homeland Defense Infantry Division (52향토보병사단)
  • 56th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (56향토보병사단)
  • 60th Reserve Infantry Division (60동원보병사단)
  • 71st Reserve Infantry Division (71동원보병사단)
  • Conjoined Armed Forces College (합동군사대학교)
  • Special Warfare School (특수전학교)
  • 1st Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'EAGLE' (1공수특전여단 '독수리부대')
  • 3rd Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'FLYING TIGER' (3공수특전여단 '비호부대')
  • 7th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'PEGASUS' (7공수특전여단 '천마부대')
  • 9th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'GHOST' (9공수특전여단 '귀성부대')
  • 11th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'GOLDEN BAT' (11공수특전여단 '황금박쥐부대')
  • 13th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'BLACK PANTHER' (13공수특전여단 '흑표부대')
  • Oversea Deployment Group (국제평화지원단 '온누리부대')
  • 707th Special Mission Battalion 'WHITE TIGER' (707특수임무대대 '백호부대')
  • Army Logistics Command 'SEVEN STARS' (육군군수사령부 '칠성대')
  • Consolidated Maintenance Depot (종합정비창)
  • Consolidated Supply Depot (종합보급창)
  • Ammunition Support Command (탄약지원사령부)
  • Army Training & Doctrine Command 'Creation' (육군교육사령부 '창조대')
  • Jawoondae Compound / Integrated Service Support Battalion (자운대)
  • Army Combat Development Group (육군전투발전단)
  • Army Signal School (육군정보통신학교)
  • Battle Command Training Program Group (육군전투지휘훈련단)
  • Consolidated Army Logistics School (육군종합군수학교)
  • Non Commissioned Officer Academy (육군부사관학교)
  • Students' Central Military School (학생중앙군사학교)
  • Sangmudae Compound / Sangmudae Service Support Corps (상무대)

First Republic of Korea Army (FROKA) (제1야전군)

  • 3rd Armored Brigade 'LIGHTNING' (3기갑여단 '번개부대')
  • 11th Field Artillery Group (11야전포병단)
  • 13th Aviation Group (13항공단)
  • 1107th Engineer Group (1107공병단)
  • 1170th Engineer Group (1170공병단)
  • 11th Signal Brigade (11통신여단)
  • 11th Infantry Division (Mechanized) 'Hwa-rang' (11기계화보병사단 '화랑부대')
  • 1st Logistical Support Command (1군수지원사령부)
  • II Corps 'DOUBLE DRAGONS' (2군단 '쌍용부대')
  • 2nd Artillery Brigade (2포병여단)
  • 2nd Engineer Brigade (2공병여단)
  • 102nd Signal Brigade (102정보통신단)
  • 702nd Special Assault Regiment (702특공연대)
  • 302nd Security Regiment (302경비연대)
  • 7th Infantry Division 'SEVEN STARS' (7보병사단 '칠성부대')
  • 15th Infantry Division 'VICTORY' (15보병사단 '승리부대')
  • 27th Infantry Division 'LET'S WIN' (27보병사단 '이기자부대')
  • III Corps 'MOUNTAINS' (3군단 '산악부대')
  • 3rd Artillery Brigade (3포병여단)
  • 3rd Engineer Brigade (3공병여단)
  • 103rd Signal Brigade (103통신여단)
  • 703rd Special Assault Regiment (703특공연대)
  • 303rd Security Regiment (303경비연대)
  • 2nd Infantry Division 'ANGRY WAVE' (2보병사단 '노도부대')
  • 12th Infantry Division 'EULJI' (12보병사단 '을지부대')
  • 21st Infantry Division 'MT. BAEKDU' (21보병사단 '백두산부대')
  • VIII Corps 'DRAGON OF THE EAST SEA' (8군단 '동해충용부대')
  • 12th Field Artillery Group (12포병단)
  • 102nd Infantry Brigade(Mechanized) 'SUNRISE' (102기계화보병여단 '일출부대')
  • 108th Signal Brigade (108정보통신단)
  • 22nd Infantry Division 'YULGOK' (22보병사단 '율곡부대')
  • 23rd Infantry Division 'IRON WALL' (23보병사단 '철벽부대')

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