Defense acquisition agency starts delivery of K11 advanced assault rifles

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense acquisition agency said Thursday that it will start delivering K11 advanced assault rifles to the Army, after production was halted for two years due to defects in the weapons.

The agency will begin delivering the rifle on Friday, with plans to gradually equip more units with the weapon down the line. The rifle can fire both a conventional 5.56 millimeter round and a 20 millimeter "smart grenade."

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said extensive and realistic tests were conducted in the field that included more than 10,000 rounds of live ammunition being fired to check the rifle's safety and durability. It said all "bugs" that were detected in the trials have been worked out, which has greatly enhanced the reliability of the gun.

First production of the dual-barrel air-burst capable weapon started in 2010, but it has been plagued by teething problems, with one weapon exploding in Oct. 2011. This accident halted productions to allow engineers to check the gun for problems.

"Once the gun reaches frontline troops it can greatly increase their close-quarters fighting capabilities," a DAPA official said.

Besides the two barrel configuration, the gun has advanced day and night scopes for better detection and accuracy, and has a firing mode for the 20 millimeter round that allows it to explode in mid-air, giving users the ability to attack targets indirectly.

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