The Samsung/Lockheed Martin KTX-2 trainer/light combat aircraft project has slipped six months. But it continues to progress with the completion of the preliminary design review, clearing the way for the start of detailed design and fabrication.

KTX-2 formal drawings release will start in September, allowing sheet metal fabrication to commence. The critical design review is scheduled for next August, followed by the start of major assembly in the first quarter of 2001 and first test flight in June 2002.

The first KTX-2 prototype had been scheduled for a maiden flight in December 2001. As a result of South Korea's economic difficulties and a cutback in the first year of development funding, "the programme has moved six months to the side", says David Ash, Lockheed Martin KTX-2 programme director.

Lockheed Martin's responsibilities as part of its 13% stake, aside from designing and building the jet's wing, include avionics and flight control integration. It is assembling a joint US-South Korean team and plans to have a system integration laboratory in place at Fort Worth by mid to late 2000. Samsung has seconded 30 engineers to the USA, while Lockheed Martin has posted 70 personnel to South Korea.

Most major subsystems suppliers for the tandem-seat jet have been selected, apart from a manufacturer for the sidestick controller, recently chosen instead of a conventional centre stick.

Three versions of the aircraft are planned, comprising the KTX-2A basic trainer, -2B lead in fighter trainer and -2C light combat aircraft for the international fighter market.

Source: Flight International