The Republic of Korea Air Force next generation KF-X fighter jet might look somewhat like this, but possibly with only one engine (Image © Ministry of Defence, South Korea)

Headaches for Korean KF-X program

The South Korean KF-X program is in trouble because of a US ‘no’ over technology transfer concering several key elements of the design. The US move is a surprise for the Koreans after their ‘yes’ to the purchase of forty Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraf last year. Seoul has started a probe into the proceeding.

South Korea is willing to spend close to 15 billion USD on the indigenous KF-X fighter jet, a program that should result in a fighter aircraft that should serve alongside the F-35s ordered and F-15Ks already in service. A total of 120 aircraft is said to be on the cards for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF).

With Washington’s refusal to hand over key technologies, it seems the program suffers a severe setback at an early stage. The goal was to have the KF-X ready to fly in 2025.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Artist’s impression of the KF-X design.  (Image © Ministry of Defence, South Korea))