중앙데일리

Deal outlines terms for new fighter jet program

Oct 07,2014

South Korea and Indonesia yesterday signed a basic agreement for a joint program for new fighter jets, in which Indonesia will pay 20 percent of the development costs.

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, South Korea’s Ambassador to Indonesia Cho Tai-young and Jung Kwang-sun, the head of the Aircraft Program Department of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), attended the signing ceremony in Indonesia, the Korea’s arms procurement agency said.

Code-named KF-X, the program aims to build 120 mid-level fighter jets with advanced capabilities based on Korean technologies.

Indonesia seeks to acquire 80 jets through this collaboration.

“The Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the Indonesian Defense Ministry agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the design of the jets, production of prototypes and test evaluations,” a DAPA official said. “It will lower the Korean government’s financial obligation, while allowing both countries to advance their aviation industries and expand their export opportunities.”

Under the agreement, the Indonesian Defense Ministry will pay 20 percent of the project’s development expenses.

The South Korean Defense Ministry estimated that the development costs alone will be around 8.5 trillion won ($7.95 billion), while the mass production of the 120 jets will cost an additional 9.6 trillion won.

A Korean builder to be selected later this year will work with an Indonesian builder on the project. The governments of both nations will also establish a joint project management organization to oversee the program.

Delivery of the jets is scheduled to start in 2025. Ten to 20 jets will be produced each year from then on.

First announced in 2001, the KF-X project was initiated to produce new multirole fighters with more advanced capabilities than the U.S.-built F-16s. The new combatant aircraft will be known as 4.5-generation fighter jets, while the F-35s by American defense contractor Lockheed Martin are considered fifth generation.

Aside from the KF-X program Korea will spend about 4.8 trillion won to purchase 40 F-35As from Lockheed Martin, military and government authorities told the JoongAng Ilbo on Sept. 24.

The defense company will also provide some assistance to the KF-X program.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]





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