Korea offers A-37 aircraft to Peru

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Korea offers A-37 aircraft to Peru

Korea has offered to give away eight A-37 Dragonfly aircraft to Peru, in eastern South America, according to the Defense Ministry.

The ministry said the gift is in line with Korea’s effort to lay the groundwork for a defense market in Central and South American countries.

“Following the transfer of the [A-37] jets, we are planning to ask about Peru’s interest in selecting Korean defense firms to introduce and replace weapons, including basic training jets, portable surface-to-air guided weapons and submarines,” said Kim Yoon-suk, head of the international war supplies cooperation bureau at the ministry.

Peru is going to take advantage of the A-37 jets in counter-terrorism operations and drug crackdowns. The small, light attack aircraft are agile enough that they have been used in acrobatic flight training.

The offer was made at an official ceremony at Las Palmas Air Base near Lima, Peru’s capital, yesterday.

Korea bought 20 A-37 aircraft from the United States over eight years beginning in 1971 under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

The jets have been used not only in close air support for ground forces and counterespionage operations but also by the Korean Air Force Aerobatic Team, also known as the Black Eagle. All the aircraft were retired in 2007.

Manufactured by Cessna Aircraft Company in the United States, the planes are 9.79 meters (32.12 feet) long and have a wingspan of 11.71 meters. They can fly 770 kilometers (478 miles) per hour at full speed.

The planes fit two pilots and have a 1,178-kilometer flying range.

Korea and Peru established diplomatic ties in 1963.

By Lee Min-yong [smartpower@joongang.co.kr]

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