Indonesia will stay in the KF-X fighter jet program with South Korea even as it pursues potential purchase of French Rafale or U.S. made F/A-18 aircraft.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has said that Indonesia’s reported plan to purchase Boeing F-15EX jets and French Rafale fighters is “separate” from the KF-X joint warplane development project between the two countries.

“We assess that (Indonesia’s purchase plan) is a matter separate from the KF-X joint development scheme,” the DAPA said in a press release. “It is a move that Indonesia has already been seeking to boost Indonesia’s Air Force power.

Even Jakarta has expressed interest in continuing work on the project with Seoul. “Through multiple working-level consultations, the two countries have been conducting negotiations in a mutually beneficial way,” the state arms procurement agency said.

Earlier, some reports said Indonesia was planning to pull out of the project owing to non-settlement of payments. 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.

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