Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has selected Triumph Group
to provide Airframe Mounted Accessory Drives for the KF-X
fighter project. Triumph will support the project by designing and producing the AMADs, which will allow the aircraft to receive and distribute engine power to generators, pumps and other systems. The award follows January's selection by KAI
of the US-based Texstars for the provision of canopy and windshield transparencies for the aircraft, as well as February's opening of a KF-X joint program office in order to facilitate program cooperation with Indonesia.
South Korea has been thinking seriously about designing its own fighter jet since 2008. The ROK defense sector has made impressive progress, and has become a notable exporter of aerospace, land, and naval equipment. The idea of a plane that helps advance their aerospace industry, while making it easy to add new Korean-designed weapons, is very appealing. On the flip side, a new jet fighter is a massive endeavor at the best of times, and wildly unrealistic technical expectations didn’t help the project. KF-X has progressed in fits and starts, and became a multinational program when Indonesia joined in June 2010. As of March 2013, however, South Korea has decided to put the KF-X program on hold for 18 months, while the government and Parliament decide whether it’s worth continuing.
Indonesia has reportedly contributed IDR 1.6 trillion since they joined in July 2010 – but that’s just $165 million of the DAPA’s estimated WON 6 billion (about $5.5 billion) development cost, and there’s good reason to believe that even this development budget is too low. This article discusses the KFX/IFX fighter’s proposed designs and features, and chronicles the project’s progress and setbacks since 2008…