In what is seen as Indonesia's commitment of participation in South Korea's KF-X jet program, its defense minister is likely to attend the aircraft's roll-out later this month.
"As far as I know, Indonesia has delivered to our government an intent that senior military officials, including Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, will attend the KF-X rollout event," a source was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency today.
Kang Eun-ho, the head of South Korea's arms procurement agency, visited Indonesia last month and handed over the invitation.
For the unbeknownst, the two countries partnered to develop and manufacture KF-X fighters. Under original terms, Indonesia agreed to shoulder 20% costs ($1.46 billion) associated with the $7.3 billion project in return for prototype and rights to build jets in their country. Payments were to be completed by 2026. Jakarta invested $203 million and then stopped making payments with around $537 million overdue.
Speculations were rife that Indonesia would leave the program but they were put to rest when DAPA said negotiations with the country were still going on.
Besides the fighter jet project, Indonesia signed a deal with South Korea in 2019 to purchase three submarines, but the business has also made little progress since then.
The assembly of the first KF-X prototype began in September 2020 by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) which is the project lead under guidance of the DAPA. KF-X jets will replace old F-4 and F-5 fighters.
KAI wants to complete the construction of three prototypes by the end of this year, and wrap up assembling another three by mid-2022. Separately, two additional copies will be made for ground tests to examine the jet's durability.
All of the trial jets were designed slightly differently to conduct various tests before its official release. Some are single seated, while others are for tandem.
First flight test of the 4.5 generation fighter is scheduled for 2022. Completion of ground and flight tests is expected around 2026. The goal of the 8.8 trillion-won ($7.9 billion) KF-X project is to secure air-to-air capabilities in the first phase, which will be achieved by 2026, and to secure air-to-ground capabilities in the second phase, which is aimed at completion by 2028.
Forty units are planned to be delivered to the Air Force by 2028 and another 80 units by 2032.
The aircraft is expected to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.81, a range of 2,900 km and maximum payload of 7,700 kg. The fighter will contain 10 pods for missiles and fuel tanks. It will be able to carry several types of air-to-air missiles, such as Germany's IRIS-T and MBDA's active radar guided Meteor missiles.