Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with French aerospace design consultancy GECI International to study the development of a multi-purpose aircraft known as the Skylander.

KAI says one European and one South American manufacturer are also expected to be brought into the programme. The South Korean conglomerate plans to invest $30 million in the project and will design and build the Skylander's wing.

The aircraft will be powered by a pair of turboprop engines and offered as a freighter or 19-seat passenger aircraft. KAI forecasts a market for up to 1,100 units over the next 20 years.

KAI is meanwhile discussing a project with Sukhoi Design Bureau and AAL of the USA to design 25- and 50-seat passenger aircraft.

The two projects are aimed at boosting the company's efforts to reduce its dependency on government-backed military aircraft programmes.

Source: Flight International