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KAI, Lockheed Martin selected for South Korea's indigenous KF-X fighter jet development program

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World Defense & Security Industry News - KAI & Lockheed Martin
 
 
KAI, Lockheed Martin selected for South Korea's indigenous KF-X fighter jet development program
 
South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., was picked as the preferred bidder for the country's indigenous fighter jet development program Monday, the arms procurement agency said. Codenamed KF-X, the 8.5 trillion won ($7.69 billion) project calls for South Korea to develop fighter jets of the F-16 class to replace its aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s. Some 120 jets are to be put into service starting around 2025.
     

One of the preliminary designs of KAI KF-X fighter jet
     
KAI, in partnership with US company Lockheed Martin has vied with Seoul's top air carrier, Korean Air Lines Co., which teamed up with Airbus Defense and Space. The tender required participants to have a foreign technical assistance company.

"After reviewing their development plan, ability and bid price by the evaluation team comprised of government officials and experts, we've selected KAI as the preferred bidder," the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in a statement. The decision was approved at a defense project committee meeting presided over by Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

"We will make a final selection after completing negotiations on details to launch the project in the first half of this year,"it added.

Industrial watchers say KAI has a technical edge over Korean Air based upon its experience developing the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer and the country's utility helicopter, the Surion.