GE delivers first engines for KF-X program
GE has announced that it has delivered the first 15 F414-GE-400K turbofan engines to South Korea for the Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) KF-X next-generation fighter program.
The engines will be used to power six KF-X prototypes planned to be built by 2021. The type is expected to make its first flight in 2022, with development expected to be completed in 2026.
The KF-X is being developed to replace the McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II and Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II jet fighters operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force, which has plans to eventually order up to 120 KF-X.
Indonesia falls behind on South Korea payments
Meanwhile, KF-X partner Indonesia is reported to have fallen further behind in its contributions to the program. The Korea Herald has reported that Indonesia – which has taken a 20 per cent share in KF-X development – is US$415m (A$592.5m) behind in payments.
The report added that advance payments due to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering for three DSME 1400 diesel electric submarines ordered by Indonesia has also not been paid.
Indonesia inked a contract worth US$1.02bn (A$1.46bn) with DSME for the three submarines, which are based on the German Type 209 design, in April 2019.
Daewoo, Hyundai to compete in KDDX destroyer program
Staying with DSME, the Korean company is set to square off against Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to bid for South Korea’s next-generation destroyer (KDDX) program.
The Republic of Korea Navy plans to acquire six indigenously-designed destroyers under the program, with the basic design to be finalised in 2023 and construction to start the following year.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is overseeing the bidding process, which closes on July 20.
Taiwan’s new jet trainer makes first flight
The prototype of Taiwan’s new indigenous jet trainer made its first flight on June 10.
The T-5 Brave Eagle built by Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) took off from Ching Chuan Kang air base near Taichung in central Taiwan to commence three days of test flights before it is scheduled to be officially unveiled on June 22.
Taiwan plans to procure 66 T-5s to replace its fleet of Northrop F-5F Tiger II and locally-designed AT-3 trainers by 2026.
USAF rotates Global Hawks to Japan
The USAF has conducted a rotation of Northrop-Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk HALE UAS to Yokota Air Base in Japan from their usual operating base in Guam.
The Global Hawks from the 319th Reconnaissance Wing’s Detachment 1 will operate from Yokota near Tokyo to allow them greater latitude to operate in the region during Guam’s typhoon season.
USAF Global Hawks have previously conducted reconnaissance flights near North Korea to keep tabs on its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, as well as on missions over the disputed areas of the South China Sea.