2 Ağustos 2009 Pazar

Güney Kore KF-X Projesi’nde Önemli Değişiklikler

Doğu Asya’nın yükselen gücü Güney Kore, 2001 yılında başlattığı KF-X (Korean Fighter – X) 5. nesil taktik savaş uçağı projesinde önemli değişiklikler yapmaya hazırlanıyor.

Güney Kore Hava Kuvvetleri’nin 2020’lerden itibaren vurucu gücünün belkemiğini oluşturacak KF-X’in, en son teknoloji ürünü silah ve sensörler donatılması ve stealth özelliklerinin tüm rakiplerinden daha gelişmiş olması hedefleniyordu.



Ancak projenin maliyetlerinin aşırı yüksek olacağının hesaplanması ve bütçe kısıtlamaları, Güney Kore Savunma Tedarik Program Yönetimi’ni (Defense Acquisiton Program Administration; DAPA) alternatif çözümlere yöneltti: KF-X projesinin revize edilmemiş hali ile maliyetinin, 10 milyar Dolar’ı aşabileceği belirtiliyor.

Bu kapsamda Güney Koreli yetkililerin gündeminde, 4. nesil bir savaş uçağını yerli kaynaklarla geliştirip, sistem entegrasyonu ve altsistem tasarım ve üretiminde yabancı ortakla birlikte çalışmak var. Üretilecek uçağın kabiliyet bazında F-16 Block 50 seviyesinde olması öngörülüyor.

Revize edilmesi planlanan KF-X projesi ile ilgili olarak halihazırdan önde gelen taktik savaş uçağı üreticileri ile temas kurulup fizibilite ve maliyet çalışmaları için destek istenmiş durumda.



Date Posted: 30-Jul-2009

Jane's Defence Weekly

Economic pressures force South Korea to review KF-X project

Sebastien Falletti JDW Correspondent
Seoul


South Korea is contemplating a major rethink of its KF-X programme, which was aimed at developing a fifth-generation stealth fighter, amid growing budgetary constraints.

Asia's fourth-biggest economy is considering scaling back its ambitions by building a fourth-generation aircraft and, instead of developing the aircraft domestically as was originally intended, working in close co-operation with a foreign manufacturer, according to confidential government sources.

"We are considering refocusing the KF-X programme because of the excessive cost of developing a fighter," a source from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) told Jane's in late July.

The source said that a continuing feasibility study commissioned by the DAPA in April will call for radical changes in the required operational capabilities of the KF-X, which was initiated in 2001 and is supposed to become a key element of South Korea's air force beyond 2020.

Instead of pursuing the development of a fighter with superior stealth attributes to any aircraft currently in service, the report suggests building a multirole jet in the F-16 Block 50 capability range, Jane's understands.

Moreover, the study calls into question the indigenous nature of the programme by stressing the need for a strong partnership with a foreign firm. Seoul has asked several manufacturers, including Boeing, EADS and Saab, to provide input into the feasibility study, in particular regarding costs and development methods, according to one procurement source. Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter's Typhoon or Saab's JAS 39 Gripen could therefore inform the development of the KF-X.

The main reason for the shift in approach is budgetary, according to defence analysts. Against the backdrop of the global economic downturn, Seoul has been confronted over recent months with a rising North Korean threat that is likely to require more funding in the short term at the expense of long-term programmes like the KF-X, an industry source said.

By developing the KF-X jointly with a foreign firm, Seoul could reduce the financial burden of a programme that is expected to cost at least USD10 billion. In contrast with his two predecessors, who had pushed hard for the development of a strong home-grown defence industry, President Lee Myung-bak has advocated a more careful budgetary approach based on cost-benefit analysis, which leaves more room for foreign manufacturers to participate.

South Korea's rethink could also reflect the technological challenges faced by its engineers when it comes to developing such an advanced aircraft. "Although they will continue to push for an indigenous programme, they do not yet have the technology. Therefore they need a foreign partner," an industry source told Jane's . Following the example of the Korea Utility Helicopter programme, which involves Eurocopter, the KF-X could potentially lead to important technology transfers.

The Ministry of National Defence refused to confirm the report and denied any strategic shift. "No decision has been made yet but several options are on the table," a source from the presidential office told Jane's . DAPA plans to take a decision on the KF-X programme in December, based on the ongoing feasibility study to be concluded in October.

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