A meeting between "government-level" figures from Israel and South Korea is planned during the Singapore air show, with the parties to discuss the former's requirement for a new fleet of advanced jet trainers.
Speaking on 9 February, a South Korean source said officials from the country will use the meeting to express their anger at what they have defined as an "unfair" competition between the Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 and Alenia Aermacchi M-346.
The South Korean government will demand that Israel's defence ministry issue a formal request for proposals before making a selection, and that the latter is made according to the "known and fair practice", the source said.
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KAI flew its T-50 at the 2010 Singapore air show, but lost out there to the rival M-346
As reported previously by Flightglobal, the value and types of Israeli-made defence systems that will be purchased by Italy or South Korea will play a major role in the selection of a new trainer to replace the Israeli air force's Douglas A-4 Skyhawks. Israel has determined that the M-346 and T-50 are both capable of meeting its performance requirements.
Italy has already indicated that it could purchase airborne early warning and control system aircraft from Israel Aerospace Industries in exchange for an Alenia Aermacchi victory, with sources saying that it has made a written commitment.
South Korea has said it intends to purchase different Israeli-made defence systems, but is not yet ready to sign an official commitment.
KAI flew its T-50 at the Singapore air show in 2010, but lost out to the M-346 in the nation's advanced jet trainer contest. Alenia Aermacchi will deliver 12 of the aircraft as Skyhawk replacements for the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
Source: Flight International