South Korean delegation has asked the United States to provide technologies related to the development of medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle during a meeting in Washington.
Both the sides discussed several key foreign and security policy issues, including the transfer of US technologies essential for development of South Korea's own fighter jet KF-X program, according to Korea Times report Thursday.
The 8.5 trillion won (US $7.6 billion) KF-X project is to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s. The government will invest an additional 10 trillion won to produce 120 jets by 2032.
It was the first high-level meeting of the Defense Technology Strategy & Cooperation Group (DTSCG), which followed the group's working-level talks held in March. The DTSCG was established last year based on an agreement between defense chiefs of the two nations.
According to the joint press release after the meeting, the two sides concurred on the need for regular information-sharing on relevant issues and decided to continue to utilize the DTSCG to advance policy and strategic discussions on technology security, foreign policy and defense technology cooperation in support of the ROK-U.S. alliance.
The project is proceeding with the help of the U.S. defense company, Lockheed Martin, which vowed to transfer technologies used in the F-35 stealth fighter in return for Korea's purchase of 40 F-35s, signed in September of 2014.
In December 2015, the U.S. government approved the transfer of 21 technologies in a "large frame," according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
“The U.S. continues to support the Republic of Korea’s defense programs and priorities through the transfer of many of our most sensitive defense technologies. We seek to support the KF-X indigenous fighter program to the maximum extent possible,” US state department spokesperson Katina Adams had said in December 2015.
The US state department had approved 21 technologies and denied four technologies that include integrated systems for active electronically scanned array radar, electro-optical targeting pod, infrared search and track and radio frequency jammer in 2014 citing national technology protection policy.
“The U.S. government is in discussions with Lockheed Martin to address ROK areas of concern. We will continue to work closely with Lockheed Martin throughout this process to ensure continued support to the KF-X program,” Adams had said.