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Indonesia approves budget for joint development of Korean fighter jet

The Indonesian parliament has approved the first batch of funds for joint development of a new South Korean fighter jet with stealth capabilities, government officials said Saturday, amid mounting questions here over the possibility of the very project.

According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Indonesian parliament approved a 1.07-trillion-Rupiah (US$78.6 million) budget Friday to be invested in South Korea's fighter jet development project, called KF-X.The money is the first of 1.7 trillion won ($1.49 billion) the Indonesian government has agreed to invest in the 8.4-trillion-won project in exchange for some of the new, indigenous technologies to be developed, as well as a prototype of the new fighter jet when built.

The South Korean government will be shouldering 60 percent of the cost with the rest set to be raised by local firms, officials from the defense procurement office said earlier.

The move by the Indonesian parliament came one day after South Korea's own parliamentary subcommittee approved a 67-billion-won budget for the fighter jet development program. The South Korean budget is still subject to approval by the parliament's defense committee and the parliament itself.

However, the budget approvals here and in Indonesia also follow earlier reports that the U.S. State Department has refused to provide at least four out of 25 key technologies considered vital to the development of a fighter jet with stealth capabilities, citing International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

South Korean developers insist the country may still develop its own technologies, but many question the possibility.

Under the multi-billion-dollar program, the country plans to build 120 combat jets by 2025. (Yonhap)
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