27 Juli 2009
T-50 in production line (photo : KAI)
SEOUL - According to officials at the Defense Acquisition Program (DAPA), South Korean firm, LIG Nex1, will develop an indigenous mechanically-scanned array radar (MESA) for aircraft with the help of Israeli firm, Elta Systems. A signing ceremony will be held on September 3, 2009.
The radar will equip TA-50 and FA-50 fighters, modified versions of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet jointly built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin of the United States.
The South Korean Air Force is buying 82 T-50 variants, 50 T-50s, 22 TA-50s and 10 T-50Bs modified for aerobatics.
Cockpit of the T-50 (photo : Airliners)
KAI signed a deal last December to develop and produce 60 FA-50s by 2012 to replace A-37 attack jets and F-4/5 fighters as backup to the Air Force's KF-16s and F-15Ks.
Under the envisaged agreement, LIG Nex1 will push for developing an indigenous radar based on the Israeli firm's EL/M-2032 radar technologies, DAPA officials said. Officials hope that the radar will begin production in 2010 and enter service in 2011.
In the mid- to long-term, the domestically-built radar is likely to be installed on upgraded KF-16 fighters and further developed to an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to equip “KF-X” fighters with technology transfers from Elta, sources said.
Initiated in 2001, the KF-X program aims to develop more than 120 indigenous fighters by 2020 in partnership with foreign aircraft manufacturers.