Lockheed Martin to help South Korea build fighter jet

18 July 2014
By Tereza Pultarova
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South Korea wants to add a new jet into its portfolio of domestically built military aircraft

South Korea wants to add a new jet into its portfolio of domestically built military aircraft [Credit: Aldo Bidini]

South Korea has announced plans to design its own mid-level fighter jet in cooperation with Lockheed Martin.

Dubbed the KF-X programme, the development of the jet is foreseen to cost 8.5 trillion won (£4.81bn).

South Korea’s only jet builder Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is expected to work on the project together with US defence giant Lockheed Martin with a goal to start commercial deliveries of the two-engine aircraft in 2025.

According to available information, the scope of Lockheed Martin's involvement in the programme is still being negotiated.

Indonesia also participated in earlier studies of the KF-X programme and remains a potential partner, an unnamed source told Reuters.

State-run think tank Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) reported earlier this month that a twin-engine version of the fighter jet is expected to cost around 8.5 trillion won.

KAI makes the T-50 family of jets, South Korea's first home-built light trainer and fighter, which was co-developed by Lockheed Martin. South Korea is one of the first customers to buy F-35 fighters from Lockheed Martin.

South Korea's acquisition of 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets for around 7.34 trillion won is expected to be finalised in the third quarter. The deal's accompanying offset offer includes Lockheed Martin involvement in the KF-X programme, it has been reported

KAI sold 12 T-50 variants to the Philippines for around $420 million in March, after previously exporting the jets to Iraq and Indonesia.

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