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S. Korea puts KF-X fighter jet project in full swing

All News 11:25 January 21, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea officially kicked off its multi-billion-dollar project Thursday to produce home-made fighter jets over the next decade.

Under the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) project by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, contractor airplane maker Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) will come up with six units of a home-grown prototype fighter by 2021.

The test fighters will undergo flight tests for four years before the development project will be completed by mid-2026, according to DAPA.

In the project the KAI will manufacture 120 fighter jets from 2026 through 2032 to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighters, DAPA said.

DAPA held a meeting with KAI and military officials from Indonesia earlier in the day in the KAI's factory in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, to officially start the project.

Indonesia is the KAI's foreign partner for the fighter jet project, having signed a contract last year to finance 20 percent of the cost in the development phase.

Under the deal, Indonesia will also be entitled to acquire the aviation technology of the project and bring home one experimental airplane.

"The KF-X project will take the role to lead the development of our aviation industry," DAPA Minister Chang Myoung-jin said during the meeting. "DAPA will develop a locally-made fighter jet which all South Koreans can be proud of."

The project is worth some 18 trillion won (US$14.9 billion).

pbr@yna.co.kr
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