KFX fighter (image : chosun)
Air Force: 'Korea Will Be Able to Continue KF-X Project without 4 Core Techs from US'
Air Force Chief of Staff Jung Gyeong-doo said that even though the U.S. may not provide four core technologies required for the development of the KF-X Korean fighter, Korea will be able to push forward with the KF-X project. The F-35A purchase contract does not include providing the four core technologies, either, Air Force Chief of Staff Jung said in a parliamentary inspection of the Air Force Headquarters on Sept. 22.
Earlier, in Sept. 2014, the Korean military demanded the transfer of 25 technologies such as AESA radar, flight control, avionics, and weapons, while deciding to introduce 40 F-35A fighters for 7.34 trillion won (US$6.23 billion).
But the U.S. government refused to approve exports of the four core technologies due to national security concerns, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said. The four items are AESA radar, infrared search and tracking equipment (IRST), electro-optical target tracking devices (EO TGP), and RF Jammers. The Korean military was planning to use the technologies in 2025. It was known that the four technologies were not included in the official contract when the Korean government decided to introduce F-35A fighters.
The DAPA is considering going ahead with the production of AESA radar, infrared search and tracking equipment by way of technological cooperation with third countries such as those in Europe and the development of other technologies in Korea.
But today, during the parliamentary inspection, lawmakers voiced concerns about a delay in the Korean fighter development program, since Korea has promoted the program under the premise that Lockheed Martin, the producer of the F-35A, will transfer core technologies to Korea.
Some military pundits say that Korea is one of the biggest buyers of U.S. weapons, but the U.S. is very loath to transfer technologies to Korea after selling them arms. “Lately, the U.S. is recognizing Korea as a competitor in the international arms market,” said a military official. “The U.S. did not give Korea promised technologies after selling the F-15K.” (Business Korea)
U.S. Refuses to Transfer Key Tech for Fighter Jet Project
KFX fighter (image : heraldcorp)
The U.S. has refused to transfer core technologies connected to the next-generation F-35 fighter jets to Korea, throwing plans to acquire 40 of them for the Air Force into disarray.
Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer, had agreed in negotiations in September last year to transfer the technologies to Korea. But U.S. government intervention means the entire project worth W20 trillion is up in the air (US$1=W1,177).
According to data New Politics Alliance for Democracy lawmaker Ahn Gyu-baek obtained from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the military signed the contract with Lockheed Martin last September to buy 40 F-35As for W7.34 trillion.
Lockheed Martin promised to provide Korea with technical assistance on 25 technologies, including the AESA radar. In the negotiations Lockheed Martin boasted that those technologies are worth several trillions of won.
The AESA is a state-of-the-art radar with electronic warfare capabilities that can search and track targets more quickly and precisely than other existing radars. Korea wanted to deploy the next-generation fighter jets warfare-ready by 2025 with these technologies on board.
But the U.S. government did not approve the transfer of four of the 25 technologies for security reasons. DAPA reportedly locked horns with Lockheed Martin over these technologies until the last moment of negotiations.
Despite Lockheed Martin's breach of contract, DAPA has no effective means of calling it to account. Instead, it has decided to develop two technologies -- the AESA radar and the infrared search and track sensor -- on its own and the others in cooperation with a European firm.
But Ahn said it is by no means certain DAPA will succeed, and even if it does there could be compatibility problems with the American equipment. (Chosun)