Oct 28, 2013

KAI Proposes Smaller KF-X Design

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is pushing for South Korea to cut the technical challenges of its proposed KF-X fighter program, offering a single-engine concept that probably has a distant connection with the Lockheed Martin F-16. KAI's KFX-E design should be cheaper to develop and build than the larger proposals put forward by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), the chief proponent of the KF-X.
Also much smaller than and more differentiated from the Lockheed Martin F-35, the KFX-E may offer the further advantage of minimizing competition from that U.S. stealth fighter. But it may have Lockheed Martin or other U.S. intellectual property in its design, exposing it to a foreign veto over sales or even development.
Seoul will probably have a foreign alternative to consider, too. Western proposals for KF-X include twin-tail developments of the F-16 and Eurofighter Typhoon, and an advanced version of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Those offerings were included as technology transfer in bids for the separate F-X Phase 3 program for 60 fighters. F-X Phase 3 has been abandoned, but a successor competition will be needed, probably reviving foreign KF-X proposals.

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