South Korea and Indonesia have signed a US $1.3 billion deal to jointly develop the next generation fighter jet KF-X for Seoul amid rising threats from the nuclear-armed North Korea.
According to the deal signed between Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Indonesian defense ministry, Indonesia will be investing US $1.3 billion for the KF-X program to replace South Korea’s aged F-4 and F-5 fighter fleet. Indonesia will be given one prototype plane and gain access to some technical data and information involving the project, KAI said in a statement.
The fighter jet program however would cost five times the money invested by Indonesia. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) formally signed an agreement on December 28 2015 with KAI for the fighter jet program.According to the agreement, 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.
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 had said in a statement.
Indonesia’s commitment will only fulfil one-fifth of the total cost of the project.
The KF-X is expected to enter the world market for a light fighter aircraft and will compete with the Lockheed Martin F-16, Saab Gripen, the Boeing F/A- 18 and the Pakistani-Chinese JF-17 Thunder.