ANKARA --- Keen to bolster the capabilities of its Air Force, Turkey is interested in developing a new fighter aircraft with South Korea and Indonesia, senior Turkish and South Korean officials have said.
"There have been some preliminary talks about our possible participation in the KF-X program," a senior Turkish procurement official told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review over the weekend. "We are investigating the feasibility and possibilities of this program."
Maj. Gen. Choi Cha-kyu, director general of South Korea's aircraft program bureau at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said in September that Ankara was seriously considering taking part in the KF-X program.
"There will be a requirement [in Turkey] to replace the older fighters with newer ones by 2020," the daily Korea Times quoted Choi as saying at the time. "Once on board, Turkey is expected to bear the same amount of development costs as Indonesia."
The KF-X is a mainly South Korean program to develop an advanced multi-role fighter for the Air Forces of South Korea and Indonesia. It originally was launched in 2001, but then postponed because of financial and technological difficulties. The program will start again next year with the consent of budget authorities.
South Korea will provide 60 percent of the KF-X development costs worth some $4.2 billion, with the rest to come from other governments or corporate partners. About 120 KF-Xs would be built initially and more than 130 aircraft would be produced additionally after the first-phase models reach operational capability.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed in mid-July, Indonesia agreed to pay 20 percent of the bill and to buy about 50 KF-X planes when mass production begins.
South Korea also is seeking to receive technology transfers from Western aerospace firms. One possible corporate partner is Sweden’s Saab. (end of excerpt)
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