Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) Ltd., in partnership with US Lockheed Martin, was declared as the preferred bidder for South Korea’s fighter jet development program called Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X). The project is worth USD7.84 billion that will develop advanced multirole fighter aircraft. Project cost will be shared by winning bidder, South Korea and Indonesia.
“After reviewing their development plan, ability and bid price by the evaluation team comprised of government officials and experts, we’ve selected KAI as the preferred bidder,” the South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement as posted by Yonhap News.
KAI is vying against Korean Air Lines Co., which teamed up with Europe’s Airbus Defense and Space. “Industrial watchers say KAI has a technical edge over Korean Air based upon its experience developing the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer [and its light fighter variant FA-50] and the country’s utility helicopter, the Surion,” says South Korea’s largest news agency.
“We will make a final selection after completing negotiations on details to launch the project in the first half of this year,” South Korea’s DAPA further said in the statement.
South Korea is looking to commission 120 KF-X jets by 2025 to replace its aging F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft.