SEOUL --- South Korea has formally decided to receive some technology support from Israel for the development of an advanced radar system in its KF-X fighter jet program, Seoul's arms procurement agency said Tuesday.
The state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) signed a contract with an Israeli defense firm on testing an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar being developed by a South Korean company, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
"It's about technology support related to the operation test of a prototype radar, not the development itself," the DAPA said.
The agency would not reveal the value of the contract apparently with Elta, while an industry official said it's worth around 40 billion won (US$35.5 million).
It requires sophisticated technology to test an AESA radar system and integrate it with aircraft.
The DAPA's statement followed a news report that the ADD has abandoned a push to develop the radar on its own despite a partnership with a local defense firm.
In 2016, the ADD chose Hanwha Thales, a local defense firm later renamed Hanwha Systems, as the preferential bidder for the radar development. Hanhwa beat its domestic rival LIG Nex1 in the controversial competition.
The ADD said earlier it could seek outside help if Hanhwa falters in developing such an advanced radar system for use by South Korea's envisioned fighter jets.
South Korea launched the KF-X project in 2015 with the aim of producing more than 120 cutting-edge fighters to replace its aging jet fleet of F-4s and F-5s.
It plans to pour a total of 18 trillion won into the project by 2026, with the production of six prototype jets scheduled to begin in July next year.