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Indonesia still gung-ho on KFX participation

Jakarta has reaffirmed its commitment to partnering with Seoul on the KFX indigenous fighter programme.

In a statement, Indonesia’s defence ministry says that six prototypes will be developed, of which one will be given to Indonesia for flight tests. In addition, it reiterates the role of Indonesian personnel in the programme, and that a final assembly line will eventually be located in Indonesia.

The statement follows the recent signing of an agreement between Jakarta and Seoul, which sets the stage for the KFX to move into the “engineering and manufacturing phase” – the second of the programme’s three phases.

The statement says the first phase, which covered technology development, was completed in December 2012. The third and final phase of the programme covers the development of production capabilities.

The KFX programme received a boost recently from Seoul’s signing of a deal for 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters under its F-X III requirement. A major element of the F-35 bid was technology offsets related to Seoul’s plan to build the KFX. The KFX is envisaged as a two-engined fighter that is more advanced than the F-16, but not up to the standard of types such as the F-35.

The fighter will likely be produced by Korea Aerospace Industries, which also developed the T-50 family of trainer and light attack aircraft with help from Lockheed Martin.

Jakarta is a 20% partner in the programme. Some industry observers have expressed concern that the US government could be wary about providing Indonesia with advanced technologies via the KFX programme.

Seoul is expected to order 120 examples of the KFX, and Indonesia 80.

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