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S. Korea picks Hanwha Thales for KF-X radar project

The South Korean military on Wednesday selected Hanwha Thales as its priority negotiation partner in development of the advanced radar for homegrown fighter jet project, officials said.

According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the state-run Agency for Defense Development chose the local supplier -- the defense affiliate of Hanwha Group -- as the preferred bidder for the Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. The radar will be for the Korean Fighter Experimental, or KF-X, project.

Signals from AESA radars are spread out across a band of frequencies and are difficult to detect over background noise, making it less susceptible to detection. This allows the ships or aircrafts to remain stealthy while sending out radar signals.

Hanwha Thales trumped its rival LIG Nex1 Co., which had also been vying for the spot and is now next in line for negotiations.

The ADD will commence negotiations with Hanwha Thales and is slated to ink a deal in June.

“The technological capacities and the cost efficiency were the two main categories in selecting the priority negotiation partner, along with security and cooperation with small and medium enterprises,” said an ADD official.

He said LIG Nex1 Co., which had been considered the more prominent candidate, had been relatively exposed more than its rival.

The indigenous jet project seeks to produce 120 fighter jets with domestic technology with a budget of some 18 trillion won ($16 billion)

The decision was made at the 94th Defense Acquisition Program Executive Committee, presided by Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

At the meeting, the officials also decided on 1.1 trillion won plans to deploy the anti-tank guided missile project, named “Hyeongung” or “Raybolt,” over the next seven years.

By Yoon Min-sik (
Korea Herald Youtube