SEOUL --- Spain has officially proposed a deal to swap military aircraft with South Korea during the two countries' joint committee meeting on defense industry cooperation in Madrid earlier this week, an informed source in Seoul said Thursday.
Spain offered to trade its Airbus A400M Atlas airlifters with T-50 Golden Eagle and KT-1 Woongbi trainer jets produced by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the source said on condition of anonymity.
"(The South Korean) government has begun to look at the proposed deal," the source said.
Spain is known to have ordered 27 A-400Ms from Airbus but has decided to sell 13 of them. It is reportedly hoping to deliver four to six A-400Ms to Korea in return for 30 KT-1s and 20 T-50s.
If the swap agreement materializes, it would herald South Korea's maiden export of aircraft to a European country. It would also provide much-needed relief to KAI, which recently suffered a defeat in a U.S. Air Force trainer jet bid.
South Korea has a fleet of C-130 Hercules cargo planes, each of which can fly more than 5,200 kilometers with a maximum load of 74,393 kilograms. The A-400M can accommodate 141,000 kg with a range of roughly 8,700 km.
South Korea's Air Force said it's in need of larger airlifters for more efficient disaster relief and peacekeeping operations.