18 Nov 15. Lawmakers Call for Audit of KF-X. Lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties have asked the state auditor to launch an inspection into the country’s troubled fighter jet development program.
They claim the KF-X project, worth 8.5trn won, is in jeopardy because the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) failed to acquire the necessary technologies. Rep. Chung Doo-un of the ruling Saenuri Party, who chairs the National Assembly Defense Committee, said Tuesday, “If there is nobody who will take responsibility for the project in crisis, an audit by the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) will be unavoidable.” The KF-X project, which calls for developing indigenous fighter jets by 2025 to replace the Air Force’s fleet of F-4s and F-5s, faced a big setback in April after the U.S. government refused to allow Lockheed Martin to transfer to Korea four core technologies related to the F-35 stealth fighter for security reasons. The four technologies, including the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, are considered critical in the development of the high-tech fighter jet. Following the rejection, DAPA kept maintaining that the nation will be able to develop such technologies domestically. But Rep. Chung said the explanation is unacceptable. “Just two months ago, Korea asked the United States to allow the transfer of four technologies, and right after the transfer foundered, DAPA said the nation can develop them domestically. Who will be able to understand this?” he said. He noted that it is common sense to review a project again if any changes in conditions arise.
Rep. Yoo Seong-min of the ruling party and Rep. Yoon Hu-duk of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy also said the inspection of the botched project is necessary. In response, DAPA Minister Chang Myoung-jin told lawmakers that if the nation fails to develop the core technologies domestically, it would buy a complete product from a foreign company. Chang also said if a budget bill recently approved by the Defense Committee is passed at the Assembly as it is, the project would be behind schedule for about two to three years. DAPA had initially requested 161.8bn won for the KF-X project next year, but the Ministry of Strategy and Finance cut it to 67bn won in September, which was approved by the Assembly Defense Committee at the end of last month. Chang added that Korea is planning to sign a tentative deal with Indonesia as early as next week for the Southeast Asian country to join the KF-X project. In October last year, Jakarta agreed with Seoul to participate in the project, paying 20 percent of the costs and later buying 50 aircraft. But critics say there might be a problem with the deal, citing the timing delay. On Oct. 6, DAPA said it would have signed that deal by the end of that month.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Meanwhile, Korean media report that a group of officials from Lockheed Martin, the F-35 vendor, are visiting Korea this week to discuss the transfer of technologies, except for the four that the US government has vetoed) (Source: defence-aerosapce.com/The Korea Times)
18 Nov 15. Pakistan to stick with RD-93 engine for JF-17, say PAF officials. The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) has no plans to replace the JF-17 fighter’s Klimov/Sarkisov RD-93 powerplant despite Chinese suggestions otherwise, according to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officials. While several, non-specific statements have been made by representatives from Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) during the past few months, a PAC senior representative recently told IHS Jane’s, “We are completely satisfied with this Russian-made engine.
“When we designed the JF-17 we evaluated a number of design alternatives and we determined that the RD-93 in this single-engine installation is absolutely right for this application,” he said. “We worked extensively with the people from Klimov bureau in St Petersburg [Russia] and this engine turned out to be