Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) President Ha Sung-yong has strengthened the partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp. in order to win new aircraft export orders.
KAI, South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, announced on Feb. 17 that Ha participated in “Singapore Airshow 2016”, which takes place at the Changi Airport Exhibition Center from Feb. 16 to 21, and met Orlando Carvalho, the executive vice president of aeronautics at Lockheed Martin, pledging to work closely together to win the U.S. Air Force's T-X program.
The program, which aims to replace aging jet trainers for the United States military, could lead to some 1,000 aircraft being built worth 50 trillion won (US$40.67 billion). This includes the initial batch of 350 planes worth 17 trillion won (US$13.83 billion). KAI said the formal announcement for bidding is expected to be made late this year, with the final winner to be selected in the second half of 2017.
Once the T-50, which was co-developed by KAI and Lockheed Martin, is selected as new jet trainer for the U.S. Air Force, KAI is also planning to push into the third jet trainer market. The company expects to export additional 1,000 units. In addition, it is conducting marketing campaigns for important figures in other countries in order to additionally export its KT-1 propeller driven trainer and T-50 supersonic jet and sell sell its Surion chopper that has yet to win an export deal.
Ha is also seeking to successfully complete the development of KF-X fighter, light armed helicopter (LAH) and light combat helicopter (LCH).
After the meeting with Lockheed Martin, Ha also met Stéphane Abrial, senior executive vice president of France’s Safran Group, the largest aerospace and defense component producer in Europe, to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation for success of Korea’s large development projects, and David Gitlin, president of UTC Aerospace Systems of the U.S., to strengthen partnership for KF-X and T-X projects.