South Korea, Indonesia to establish KF-X research centre

Singapore
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South Korea and Indonesia have established a research centre to study the proposed KF-X indigenous fighter aircraft.

The centre will be located in Daejeon, 160km (99 miles) south of Seoul, said South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

Approximately 100 South Korean and 30 Indonesian researchers will work at the centre.

Korea Aerospace Industries and Indonesia's National Defense Research Institute will both contribute personnel to the project, which will look at the design and other core technologies of the proposed stealth aircraft.

DAPA's announcement indicates the long-discussed aircraft programme may finally be getting off the ground.

On 14 July, a story carried by Indonesia's Antara official news agency said the country had confirmed it would participate in the programme, contributing 20% of the development costs.

Antara quoted the secretary general of Indonesia's defence ministry, Erris Heriyanto, as saying development of the KF-X would take place in three stages: technological development over the next two years, engineering and manufacturing and finally production.

The two partners have agreed to produce 150-200 units, of which Indonesia would get 50. These would be sufficient to equip three combat squadrons, he said.

An Indonesian source told Flightglobal that Jakarta expects KF-X to be ready by 2018.

Jakarta originally signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in the KF-X project at the 2010 Farnborough air show.

Seoul, apparently interested in reducing its share of the estimated $8 billion in development costs, has also spoken to Turkey. Ankara, however, announced plans for its own indigenous fighter in December 2010.