South Korea and Indonesia may sign an industrial engagement agreement for the joint development of Korean next generation fighter aircraft later this month.
Earlier this week, South Korean government decided to develop some of its own KF-X fighters with some help from outside after the US denied did not allow exports of four major technologies promised for the South Korean project in a decision made in April.
Under the project to build home-grown combat jets, Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) agreed with Lockheed Martin to obtain 25 kinds of fighter jet technologies as part of their 7.3 trillion won ($6.1 billion) deal to purchase 40 F-35 radar-evading fighters to be deployed between 2018 and 2021.
US has denied export of the four technologies that were added later to the accord clearing the rest of 21 listed citing technology protection policy.
"DAPA is currently conducting consultation with relevant ministries about the establishment of an organization in full charge of the KF-X project," an unnamed official was quoted as saying by Korea Times News daily Monday.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) was a preferred bidder for the development program along with US Lockheed Martin.
South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said that KAI and Indonesian authorities are continuing negotiations on KFX before signing a definitive contract agreement later this month, Janes reported Tuesday.
The agreement will feature Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Indonesia's state-owned PT Dirgantara. KAI's KFX development partner Lockheed Martin will also be involved in the program.
KAI still has to sign a main contract with DAPA to develop the KFX.
The contract to complete the development of the aircraft is valued at $8 billion. Under the terms of a joint engineering and development agreement signed in October 2014, South Korea will pay 80 per cent of the costs of developing the aircraft, with Indonesia paying the remaining 20 per cent. Indonesia is also expected to procure the aircraft.
Development of the KFX will take the programme to the serial manufacturing phase, which is tentatively set to commence in 2025. South Korea plans to deploy 120 units by 2032.
The KFX is envisaged as a single-seat, twin-engine, multirole aircraft equipped with stealth features, active electronically scanned array radar, and internal weapons carriage.