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S. Korea, Indonesia to begin research on fighter jet

South Korea and Indonesia will begin their joint technological research to develop new fighter jets on Tuesday in accordance with their agreement signed in April, officials at the state acquisition agency said Monday.

They will open the combined research and development center on a 2,700-square-meter plot in Daejeon for the joint fighter jet development project, named the “KF-X” project.

Some 130 officials from the Defense Acquisition and Program Administration, the Agency for Defense Development and the Air Force ― including Indonesians ― will work at the CRDC, DAPA officials said.

The new project is aimed at replacing aging fighter jets such as the F-4 and F-5 with high-tech combat aircraft with more enhanced capabilities than those of KF-16s and possibly stealth functions, the officials said.

Last April, the ADD and Balitbang, the Indonesian defense research institute, signed the contract for the joint fighter jet development.

In July last year, the DAPA and the Indonesian defense ministry signed a memorandum of understanding, under which Jakarta is to shoulder some 20 percent of the research cost while Seoul will cover the remaining amount.

For the initial technological research, Korea is to spend $40 million and Indonesia $10 million, according to officials. After the mass production of the new fighter jet begins, Indonesia is to purchase some 50 units, officials said.

“South Korea and Indonesia have maintained good relations in terms of economy, trade, defense, culture and other areas since we established diplomatic relations in 1973,” Noh Dae-rae said in a press release.

“This project will be a strategic one that will ensure national security and development in the defense industry for both nations.”

By Song Sang-ho (