Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is to shift the assembly line for its KT-1 trainer and KO-1 forward air control aircraft from a dedicated hangar to its main factory in Sacheon to free up room for Lockheed Martin P-3 upgrades.

KAI completed production of 92 KT-1s for the South Korean air force in 2003, and is under contract to build 20 armed KO-1s for the service. Last month it delivered its first KO-1 and expects to complete deliveries by late next year. Five more KT-1s are contracted for Indonesia, but additional export sales are needed if KAI is to produce the KT-1/KO-1 beyond 2008.

Meanwhile, KAI and L-3 Communications have begun co-developing a new avionics suite for the P-3B, which the South Korean company claims will effectively transform the maritime patrol to the P-3C standard. L-3 says it will begin work in Texas this month on the first of two ex-US Navy aircraft it will upgrade for South Korea. It will ship the P-3’s wing and engine nacelles for arrival at KAI’s Sacheon plant next February, where they will be refurbished and shipped back to L-3 for reassembly from January 2007. South Korea’s navy will receive its first modified aircraft in December 2007.

KAI will also refurbish and upgrade six more P-3Bs in Sacheon from January 2006, with these scheduled for delivery to the navy between December 2008 and December 2009.


Source: Flight International