No breakthrough yet in KF-X payments in Indonesia
|President Yoon Suk-yeol and Indonesian President Joko Widodo hold a joint press conference at the presidential office in Seoul on Thursday following their summit. Joint Press Corps|
The KF-21 passes its second flight test
By Kang Seung Woo
Despite last week’s summit between Korea and Indonesia, concerns over Jakarta’s possible default on the joint KF-X fighter jet program remain, after the meeting failed to find a clear solution to the Southeast Asian country’s late payment problem.
The KF-X, intended to produce an advanced multirole fighter aircraft, was launched in 2001 and the two nations signed an agreement in 2010 to cooperate on the project. Indonesia has agreed to fund 1.6 trillion won, or 20% of the total development cost of 8.8 trillion won ($6.71 billion), in exchange for a number of planes that will be there. will be manufactured for the Indonesian Air Force as well as technology transfers. But Indonesia has failed to honor the agreement since 2017, failing to pay the 800 billion won pledged so far.
Ahead of the summit on Thursday, the local defense industry expected Indonesian President Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi,’s visit to Seoul to serve as an impetus to find a breakthrough in the resolution of late payments. publish. Also, the successful first flight of the domestically developed KF-21 Boramae fighter jet before Jokowi’s arrival added to the anticipation. The KF-21 is manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the country’s only aircraft manufacturer.
However, the much-heralded summit appears to have turned out to be a disappointment, with neither leader going into detail on how to resolve the issue, suggesting that the issue of payment may not have been on the table. agenda during their talks, contrary to the expectations of the presidential office that the issue of payment would soon be settled.
“The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together so that the joint fighter jet program can proceed smoothly until the end,” President Yoon Suk-yeol told a press conference. joint after the summit in the presidential office.
According to Yoon’s office, Widodo proposed to Yoon at the summit that countries hold consultations to resolve the payment issue.
“Given that Jokowi made the proposal, it’s time for work-level discussions to follow up,” an official in Yoon’s office said.
However, while Yoon spoke about Indonesia’s commitment to the KF-X program, the Indonesian president did not mention the KF-X issues during the press conference.
Last November, when late payments on its part raised doubts about the sincerity of the program, the two countries recently agreed that Indonesia would make 30% of its total payments in kind, although the country has since reneged. the agreement.
|A KF-21 Boramae fighter jet flies over Sacheon, South Gyeongsang province, during its first test flight on July 19. Courtesy of Defense Acquisition Program Administration|
In this regard, there have been calls for Korea to break away from Indonesia and seek ways to continue the project independently.
However, some say Korea is in a position where it cannot push Indonesia too hard to pay its share of KF-X due to its long history of defense cooperation.
Indonesia purchased 16 T-50 supersonic trainers from KAI in a $400 million deal in 2011, while the country also signed two separate deals in 2011 and 2019 to purchase a total of six sub-trainers. 1400 ton sailors at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.
“Indonesia has played a certain role in helping Korean defense companies gain a foothold in the international market. This issue needs to be addressed from a long-term perspective,” a defense industry official said.
Meanwhile, the KF-21 successfully completed its second test flight on Friday, sources said. The fighter took off from the Air Force’s 3rd Flight Training Wing in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province at 11:02 a.m. and flew for 39 minutes.