South Korea and Indonesia announced a planned partnership in Seoul’s future indigenous fighter program (KF-X). This announcement follows the bilateral agreement between the two countries signed in 2010, with an Indonesian commitment to acquire about 50 KF-X fighters in exchange for joint production and marketing of the new fighter. In May this year, Indonesia agreed to purchase 16 of South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle trainer jets, marking the first South Korean export of the supersonic jets.
At the focus of the project is a joint research center opened today in Daejeon. Indonesia has committed to support 20 percent of the research, contributing US$10 million at this early stage. Indonesia will also send 30 researchers to work at the new center, to join about 100 of the South Koreans research colleagues.
South Korea’s KF-X project, initiated in the early 2000s aims to replace the country’s fleet of aging F-4E Phantom II and F-5E fighter jets with a locally produced fifth generation stealth fighter by 2020. According to DAPA roadmap, a prototype is expected to be selected next year.