KF-X jet final assembly. DAPA image.
Amidst reports that Indonesia had pulled out of the KF-X fighter jet deal, a South Korean official said talks between the two sides were still on.
“We are in the process of sounding out each other’s position,” Kang Eun-ho, chief of Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), said during a press briefing.
Under original terms, Indonesia agreed to shoulder 20% costs ($1.46 billion) associated with the $7.3 billion project in return for prototype and rights to build jets in their country. Payments were to be completed by 2026. Jakarta invested $203 million and then stopped making payments with around $537 million overdue.
KF-X project is divided into two stages by applying the ‘evolutionary development concept’. The goal is to secure air-to-air capabilities in the first phase, which will be achieved by 2026, and to secure air-to-ground capabilities in the second phase, which is aimed at completion by 2028.
The KF-X jet’s prototype is expected to be released publicly in April 2021.
Along with the prototype development, DAPA is working to develop core technologies such as: AESA radar, IRST (infrared ray search and tracking equipment), EOTGP (electron-optical target tracking equipment), EW Suite (electronic warfare integrated equipment), and mission computers.
When the development is complete, 40 units are planned to be delivered to the Air Force by 2028 and another 80 units by 2032.