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Korea to export KT-1 trainers to Peru

Peru expresses interest in purchasing T-50

South Korea has signed a $200 million deal with Peru to export 20 KT-1 trainers, including 10 that can be altered into light attackers, officials said Tuesday.

They will be delivered to Peru’s airfields within two years of production.

The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and Korea Aerospace Industries signed the agreement with Peru’s Ministry of Defense in Lima on Tuesday. The two sides have been in talks regarding KT-1 since 2005.

This marks the first time for Korea to export its aircraft to Peru where Brazil’s Embraer trainers have been dominating the market. Korea has previously exported KT-1s to Indonesia and Turkey.

Officials of KAI said that Peru has also expressed interest in purchasing its T-50 jet trainers.

The sale of KT-1 has paved the way for Korea to export not only T-50s but also other defense equipment and products such as Surion helicopters in the region and other Latin American countries.

Korea will be responsible for manufacturing four KT-1s, and the rest will be assembled with Peruvian components in Peru by its state-run defense company SEMAN.

This deal structure is part of the bilateral offsets agreement in which the seller provides the buyer with technology to spur the local economy. Korea will also be providing simulation training to Peruvian pilots.

KT-1, a single propeller aircraft mainly for pilot training, can be transformed into a light attacker, dubbed KA-1, by installing air-to-ground missiles.

Peru plans to use the Korean aircraft to counter drug cartels and insurgencies in the country and the Andes, KAI officials said.

The purchase of Korean trainers comes as Peru has no commercial airliners and a very few pilots.

Korea, which has a free trade agreement with Peru, has suggested that Peru train pilots with KT-1s in the beginning, who can later become commercial airliner pilots as the country moves to establish the domestic airline industry.

By Park Hyong-ki

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Korea Herald daum