Singapore Air Show

UTC Wins Place on KF-X as Korean Program Advances

 - February 6, 2018, 11:07 PM
The KF-X will be powered by two General Electric F414 engines.

UTC Aerospace Systems will provide several key components for Korea’s KF-X advanced fighter, as prime contractor Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) chooses sub-system suppliers. Honeywell Aerospace and British company Oxley have also secured KF-X contracts from KAI. The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is expected to buy more than 100 of the stealthy jets. Indonesia is a 20 percent partner, but its commitment has faltered in recent months.

The environmental control system, air turbine starter, and flow control valve will all be provided by UTC Aerospace Systems. The company says that it has integrated key components of the air conditioning and liquid cooling into a single pack, saving weight and space. An official said “we are positioned to offer additional system opportunities.”

Honeywell Aerospace will provide navigation and communications for the KF-X. Oxley will develop a full external lighting system which, it says, “will outperform existing technology to deliver high performance and reliability.”

The KF-X will be powered by two General Electric F414 engines. But the U.S. has forfeited the opportunity to supply the jet’s fire control radar, refusing to export the latest technology. Instead, Korea’s Agency for Defence Development (ADD) will produce an indigenous active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. However, the ADD has sought help from abroad. First from Thales, which entered a partnership with local company Hanwha, that was later dissolved. Then–reportedly–from Elta Systems of Israel.

Most recently, Saab said it had received an order from the ADD and its contractual partner LIG Nex1 for support of the radar’s algorithm development and evaluation. But AIN understands that Saab’s involvement in this radar may grow.

Meanwhile, the head of Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) admitted late last year that there was a “problem” with Indonesia’s role in the KF-X program. However, some 80 engineers from the southeast Asian country’s state-owned aircraft company PTDI have been working in Korea on the project for quite some time. They have worked on the avionics and the mission computer of the KF-X. And at PTDI’s headquarters in Bandung, a new facility has been planned to assemble the 50 jets that Indonesia is supposed to buy. 

Additional reporting by Reuben Johnson.