The Republic of Korea celebrated the 75th anniversary of its Armed Forces Day on Tuesday with a grand parade in central Seoul.
The parade was brought forward a few days, since RoK Armed Forces Day is celebrated on October 1. The advance could have been due to the celebration of Chuseok, the Korean autumn festival, the local equivalent of the US Thanksgiving, which began today and this year connects six holidays in a row. The parade, which was somewhat lackluster due to the rain, was attended by 3,700 South Korean soldiers and 300 American soldiers, symbolizing the close military alliance between both countries.
Unlike North Korea, where military parades are frequent, this is the first military parade to be held in South Korea in ten years. The parade was somewhat atypical by Western standards. As you can see in the summary published by the Ministry of Defense of South Korea, on these lines, the celebration included a demonstration of martial arts, a practice deeply rooted in that country. The parade also had a very festive and happy atmosphere, with the soldiers greeting the public, as we can see in this video from Seoul Walker:
As happens in military parades in other countries, this event included aircraft and ground vehicles, showing the latest from South Korea's thriving defense industry, including K2 Black Panther battle tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers Thunder, missiles, etc. A great display of force in the face of growing threats from the communist dictatorship of North Korea.
It should be noted that the Republic of Korea Navy also participated and a naval force has never done so in a land parade in a city that does not have access to the sea. Since it is impossible to parade a real warship through Seoul, in the parade one of the three Sejong the Great Class destroyers was displayed using augmented reality, as we can see in this video from the channel South Korean A News starting at 45:59 (I've embedded the video so it starts playing at that point):
The ship displayed in the parade is the ROKS Jeongjo the Great DDG-995, a ship that was launched on July 28, 2022 at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard. Her delivery to the Republic of Korea Navy is expected in November 2024.
This ship will be the first of the second phase of the Sejong the Great Class, whose first phase is made up of three ships currently in service. The new phase, made up of three other units, will have the advanced Aegis radar system.
Currently, the South Korean Navy has a considerable fleet consisting of 2 amphibious aircraft carriers, 12 destroyers, 15 frigates, 5 corvettes, 69 patrol vessels, 8 landing ships, 7 hovercrafts, 13 mine anti-mine vessels, 20 submarines and 20 auxiliary vessels. In addition, its air force has 68 aircraft: 21 fixed-wing aircraft and 47 helicopters.
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