Andrzej Jeziorski/SINGAPORE

Daewoo Heavy Industries is expecting a development contract this year for an armed reconnaissance variant of its KT-1 Woong-Bee turboprop trainer, designated the KO-X (Flight International, 4-11 November, 1998).

According to Kwang Jin Lee, managing director of Daewoo's aerospace and defence division, the South Korean state-run Agency for Defence Development (ADD) will give the go-ahead for a two-year development programme by the end of this year. An order for 20 additional aircraft is expected to be signed in 2003, when the first KO-X is likely to fly.

KO-X deliveries to the South Korean air force will be completed in 2005, and Daewoo also hopes to find an export market for the aircraft. Export talks are under way with three potential customers for the KT-1 trainer, with Daewoo focusing on South American and South-East Asian nations as the most likely buyers.

Lee declines to give details of the aircraft's weapons and systems, but says it will have a light ground attack capability, with South Korean-made cannons and rockets. The KO-X is also likely to have the same 710kW (950shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62A engine as that will power the production KT-1.

The KT-1 is designed for a maximum take-off weight of 3,205kg (7,060lb) in utility configuration, and has the capability to carry rockets and guns for weapons training.

The final specification of the KO-X is not complete and will depend on the ADD's requirements, says Lee. Daewoo is expecting a production contract for 85 KT-1 trainers to be signed at the end of this month. Lee says the company is now manufacturing production tooling in preparation for the start of KT-1 assembly this year.

The first production aircraft is scheduled to begin flight testing in March 2000, before delivery to the air force at the end of June. A total of 13 aircraft will be produced in 2000, says Lee, and deliveries will continue until 2004.

The first KTX-1 prototype flew in 1991, with four more prototypes built and tested since then. They have accumulated some 1,500 flight hours.

Source: Flight International