South Korean TFX Is On Track Despite Lack Of Financial Contributions By Indonesia

Technicians from Indonesian aerospace firm PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) will soon be rejoining counterparts from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to undertake work on developing the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) multirole fighter aircraft, learned GDC citing British magazine Janes.

PTDI technicians on the KF-X project – known as KF-X/IF-X in Indonesia – returned to Indonesia from South Korea in March when the Covid-19 epidemic was at its peak in the Northeast Asian country. An industry source has confirmed to Janes that these technicians are now “currently preparing to redeploy”.

At the end of 2019 the total number of PTDI technicians on the KF-X project in South Korea was about 100, with their work mainly focused on aircraft design and manufacturing processes. Their redeployment will be framed against requirements for social distancing and other Covid-19-related guidelines.

The move to re-engage PTDI technicians on the project comes against a background of progress on the development of KF-X prototypes but also continuing delays in efforts to reach a compromise on the scope of Indonesian financial participation in the programme. Another factor that could have an impact on Indonesia’s involvement are some concerns in Jakarta about the strategic value of its involvement.

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KAI has confirmed that assembly of the first KF-X prototype is scheduled to be finalised in the second half of 2020, with a view to rolling out the aircraft in April 2021. The schedules confirm that the KF-X programme has not been affected by Covid-19 and is on track to start mass production in the mid-2020s.

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