South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) have formally signed an agreement to develop KF-X fighter aircraft.
According to the agreement signed today, DAPA will finance 60 per cent of the 8 trillion won (US$6.9 billion) costs required in the development phase, with KAI to pay 20 per cent, Yonhap news agency reported Monday.
A total of eight test planes will be initially produced, with six of them for flight testing and the two others for ground testing. Indonesia will bring one of them home, along with aviation technologies to be transfered to the country.
"With the signing of the contract with KAI on Monday, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration will officially set about the fighter jet development project," DAPA said in a statement.
The project will take 10 years and six months before completing the developmental phase by the first half of 2026 and producing the initial batch of aircraft by 2028, according to the state procurement agency.
"This development project seeks to acquire medium-class Korean-type fighter jets through the joint investment of the South Korean government, Indonesia and foreign and local companies so that we can meet our Air Force's post-2020 air power demand on our own and tap into the global combat jet market," DAPA said.
The defense procurement agency also said the project will have a spill-over effect to bring the country's aviation industry one step forward.
"DAPA will utilize the local aviation industry's technologies and manpower that have been accumulated over the past 30 years and will do its best efforts to procure the needed fighter jets on time," DAPA Minister Chang Myoung-jin said.