22 Februari 2011

Spy Behind the Weapons Procurement of Indonesia (2)

22 Februari 2011

T-50 Golden Eagle (photo : Airliners)

Alleged Break-In Clouds S. Korea-Indonesia Deal

SEOUL - South Korean intelligence officials allegedly broke into the hotel room of a visiting Indonesian delegate last week to copy computer files on possible arms deals between the two governments, according to sources here and Feb. 21 news reports.

Seoul officials are expressing concern that the episode could provoke a diplomatic feud and harm the government's efforts to sell its T-50 supersonic trainer jet and other defense equipment to the Southeast Asian nation.

The Indonesian government has asked Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to figure out just what happened, said ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae.

"We are verifying the facts, and we agreed to inform the Indonesian authorities as soon as we are done," Cho said.

Officials with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) denied the allegations and declined to elaborate.

South Korean police has been investigating the Feb. 16 incident, which occurred at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul, where a 50-strong Indonesian delegation was staying.

The delegation led by Hatta Rajasa, coordinating minister for the economy, and Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, arrived here Feb. 15 for a three-day run to discuss ways of boosting economic ties with Seoul.


Doosan K-30 Biho twin 30mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (photo : Military Today)

Indonesia's potential purchase of South Korea's T-50 Golden Eagle trainer aircraft was referred to as a top topic, as Jakarta has shortlisted the T-50, co-developed by Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin of the United States, as one of the three candidates for its advanced jet trainer requirement.

Competitors are said to be Russia's Yak-130 and the Czech-built L-159B, according to the Defense Acquisition Procurement Agency.

According to police officers, three unidentified intruders, two men and one woman who are believed to be members of the NIS, broke into a suite on the 19th floor of the five-star hotel.

The break-in was made right after most of the delegation departed for the South Korean presidential office for a courtesy call on President Lee Myung-bak.

The alleged trespassers may have used a USB memory stick to copy files from one of the two laptop computers left in the room but fled after being witnessed by an aide to a visiting Indonesian envoy.

Whether or not the intruders succeeded in getting access to the computer files remains unclear, according to the police. The laptops were handed over for an investigation, but the Indonesian aide requested their return the next day.

"If that's true, I'm just surprised that this kind of amateurish operations had been conducted," a military source said. "Only thing we can guess is that the Lee Myung-bak administration could be too pressed to make the first sale of the T-50 following the back-to-back defeats in the trainer contests in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore for the past years."

Citing an unidentified government source, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the agents "were trying to figure out the Indonesian delegation's negotiating strategies" regarding the potential purchase of the T-50, K2 Black Panther main battle tank and the K30 Biho 30mm self-propelled twin-gun system.

K-30 Biho (Flying Tiger) SPAAG adapt K-200 chasis, but weighs almost twice as much as the K200, total weight of K-30 Biho is 25 ton. The modified chassis largely retains the protection and amphibious capability of the original chassis. . Effective fire range is approximately 3 km, and the radar range is 17-20 km (photo : Military Today)

The KAI-Lockheed team has fought an uphill battle to explain to potential customers the T-50's performance-to-price ratio after it lost to Italy's M-346 jet both in the UAE and Singapore because of the "luxury" jet's price of about 25 billion won ($22 million).

The single-engine T-50 features digital flight controls and a modern, ground-based training system. It is designed to have the maneuverability, endurance and systems to prepare pilots to fly next-generation fighters, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-22 Raptor, the Rafale and the F-35 Lightning II.

The jet has a top speed of Mach 1.4 and an operational range of 1,851 kilometers.
Potential customers for the South Korean trainer jet include the United States, Iraq, Greece and Poland.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Jakarta Post, Hatta claimed the intrusion was a "misunderstanding." The Indonesian economy minister said the three intruders were actually hotel guests who happened to enter the wrong room.

"Instead of entering their own room, 1961, the guests unintentionally entered room 2061, which belonged to an Industry Ministry official," Hatta said. "But the misunderstanding was immediately cleared up. And the laptop which was unintentionally opened by the guests consisted only of PowerPoint slide shows about the condition of our industry, which would be presented by Industry Minister M. Hidayat before our Korean counterparts."

(DefenseNews)

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