Korea is trying to persuade the United States to lift the ban on the transfer of four key technologies relating to the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) program. Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo is slated to have talks in the U.S. during President Park Geun-hye’s state visit, and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn recently remarked in the National Assembly that the defense authorities of both countries are discussing the matter now.
Still, nothing is clear for now. For Washington, Korea ranks behind Europe, Israel, and Japan in terms of priority, and there is no precedent when it comes to the transfer of the technologies in question. In the end, it is likely that the U.S. will stop at reiterating that it will do its best for the success of the KF-X program.
In short, what Korea is doing these days can be regarded as an attempt based on the premise that it cannot win. If the U.S. insists, the entire schedule of the program has to be adjusted, or might founder in the worst-case scenario. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration recently declared that it would advance the development schedule by three years in the wake of the news as to Washington’s opposition, but it is said that the declaration lacks a reality check.
As of now, it is the upcoming meeting between the heads of the defense authorities that holds the key to the direction of the fighter jet development program.