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Drones are used for a variety of purposes, from hobby to industrial use. One of the fields with high interest in drones is the defense industry. In September 2018, the army started using drones by establishing a dronebot combat team. Accordingly, Taekyung Electronics Co., Ltd., a defense industry company, started manufacturing drones on its own from May 2019 in line with the needs of the military, and completed preparations for delivery to the Army Education Command in January 2020. This achievement was achieved in just 7 months from product development to production. We heard about the growth engine of Taekyung Electronics, which succeeded in supplying goods while meeting the strict conditions required by the military.
Keyword 1 – Overcoming preconceived notions
A female CEO who runs a defense industry. It was enough to stimulate the curiosity of the reporter until he met Hyeri Ahn, CEO of Taekyung Electronics Co., Ltd. In fact, she had a prejudice that the defense industry was a male-dominated field. Among them, it was founded in April 2012 and has been running the company for 8 years this year. I was curious about how they came to establish themselves in the defense industry, which is difficult to enter.
“When I first started my business, everyone around me said, ‘It will disappear soon. After three years of enduring, they said, ‘Hold on’.”
Everyone said it wouldn’t be easy, but CEO Ahn’s unique perseverance made Taekyung Electronics the strong defense industry company it is today, and now more and more people are reaching out to work with her first.
Taekyung Electronics started manufacturing and supplying printed circuit board assemblies (PBA) for the defense industry, and is producing indoor and outdoor LED lights, bone conduction headsets, microphones, and drone products used in airplanes and helicopters. Among them, the bone conduction headset, searchlight drone, and surveillance and reconnaissance drone are self-developed products and are sold under the name of Taekyung Electronics. From OEM production to in-house product development, how was CEO Ahn able to overcome the two barriers of manufacturing and defense industry, which everyone says are difficult? To this, he replies, “Three unchilgisam(運七技三)’.”
“It is said that luck is 7 in business and ability or effort is 3. I was the same. The timing to enter the defense industry was good.”
Taekyung Electronics, which had to install a SMT (Surface Mounting Technology) line to produce PBA in the early days of its establishment, received certification from Huneed Technology, LIG Nex1, and Hanwha Systems in 2015 for a special process. Coincidentally, in 2014 and 2015, the defense industry was preparing a system to deliver products only after receiving certification for processing. A gap has been created in the defense industry, which does not change the partners it has been dealing with for a long time. Ahn did not miss this opportunity. In the defense industry market, which is said to be a glass ceiling, CEO Ahn was able to break the glass that seemed to be solid and gain an edge in competition with existing companies thanks to setting up an SMT line for a year after founding, receiving certification, and choosing a straight-line method.
However, this does not mean that all the suspicious eyes toward Ahn have disappeared. In particular, when Taekyung Electronics announced that it would start developing drones in May of last year, it is said that the industry watched with suspicion, wondering if they could make it properly. It must have been all the more so because developing drones is never easy. However, Taekyung Electronics dispelled this distrust by launching a prototype in 7 months and producing and delivering products that met the conditions required by the army training and fire department.
Still, there are many prejudices that Ahn must overcome. However, the defense industry is still an attractive market for Ahn. It would not be an impossible story if he continues to develop products that combine his good ideas with existing defense products.

Keyword 2 – In-house brand products
When he started his business, CEO Ahn thought that he would one day make Taekyung Electronics’ own products. His mind was always filled with ideas of “what kind of product should we make into our product?” As a result, I didn’t hear the stories around me, and I didn’t look at anything casually. What I found was the bone conduction headset and drone released in 2019.
“For the future, I think we need to produce our own branded products. So, we always had R&D personnel. I don’t know when it will be, but I thought ‘then’ would definitely come.”
CEO Ahn established the company-affiliated research institute in June 2018. He decided that in order for the company to grow one step further, he should not stop at simple manufacturing and processing, and he constantly made new attempts. What he was interested in was the gap. Rather than developing a product that did not exist, he improved the completeness of the product by adding one that was lacking even though it was a product that existed. There was always a big barrier called ‘impossible’ in front of CEO Ahn. It was the same when he said he was attaching a searchlight to his drone, and even when he said he was developing his own drone, he always had to hear negative comments like, ‘Can it be done?’
She said, “He said he would replace the flares by attaching a searchlight to the drone, and he asked what to do if he was shot. But I didn’t stop and continued promoting. Then, the Army first sent a positive signal.”
CEO Ahn, who has a unique driving force, did not know to give up. At important moments of choice, he built his own territory little by little, making decisions based on values and people rather than chasing money. However, CEO Ahn was not always successful. There were many twists and turns before developing the bone conduction headset, LED searchlight, and drone.
“I developed interior and exterior lights for aircraft with LED, but they did not sell. From the company’s point of view, a product that doesn’t sell is considered a failure. However, if we had failed, our company would not have come this far.”
Representative Ahn said that he was able to make LED searchlights because he made the interior and exterior of the aircraft, and he was able to develop a small LED searchlight that grafted it to drones. However, if it had come this far, he would have said, “That’s just how it is.” At that time, Taekyung Electronics was a company that produced small LED searchlights for drones attached to ready-made drone products. It was because of an “incident” that occurred in 2018 that Taekyung Electronics’ research institute researchers developed a drone while staying awake at night.
At that time, Taekyung Electronics planned to demonstrate by attaching a small LED searchlight that can replace flares to drones at the 2018 amphibious dronebot combat system development seminar and exhibition hosted by the Marine Corps Command. However, just two days before the exhibition, the drone company suddenly decided not to rent. It was not the only embarrassing situation since all specifications had been tailored to the drone. I urgently got a drone and held a seminar, but it was not satisfactory.
It wasn’t Ahn’s style to always have to be nervous to rent a drone every time he demonstrated a product. We decided ‘Let’s try it once’ and started developing drones in May 2019. And in September, after going through a bidding review by an army trainer, the product that met the requirements of the military was completed in December. Currently, Taekyung Electronics Co., Ltd. is equipped with a LED searchlight that replaces flares, a drone ‘TR-VH16LC’ and a surveillance and reconnaissance drone ‘TR-VH16SC’ with a flight time of 35 minutes, a flight speed of 60km/h, an operating distance of 8km and video transmission of up to 5km. We are producing drones used for fire safety and military special purposes.
CEO Ahn says that in order for Taekyung Electronics to grow further than it is now, it was absolutely necessary to have its own brand products made with its own technology. Now I climbed a small ridge of a big mountain called Drone. Representative Ahn, who has been properly hooked on drones these days, has no intention of stopping here. To this end, Taekyung Electronics’ R&D will continue.

Source : Reporter Ha Jung-hee | 기업나라

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