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South Korea News & Discussions

Discussion in 'Military Forum' started by Mig-29, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    SEOUL - South Korea will refocus its KF-X fighter-development program, which aimed to create a fifth-generation stealth fighter, and instead solicit foreign firms' help in producing about 250 F-16-class fighter jets after 2010, according to a research institute here.
    South Korea wants to retire the F-4Ds, shown above, which were received from the U.S. Air Force inventory.

    The Weapon Systems Concept Development and Application Research Center of Konkuk University was ordered in April by the government to look at the feasibility of the controversial KF-X effort, which originally aimed to produce and market about 120 aircraft, stealthier than Dassault's Rafale or the Eurofighter Typhoon but not as stealthy as Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II.

    On May 18, the center told major foreign aircraft manufacturers that the South Korean military wants to replace older F-4s and F-5s with a lesser fighter, one on par with the F-16 Block 50. In a letter, the center sent detailed operational requirements for the new jet, which is to have basic stealth technology and a domestically built active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

    "Korea has been evaluated with the capacity of 63 percent of necessary technology if the total technology is assumed 100 percent," the letter said. "That … means that self-development of aircraft is possible with joint development of core technology … and technology transfer from abroad."

    On May 29, the center asked Boeing, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab about their views on the per-plane cost estimate of $50 million, as well as budget-sharing ideas and technology transfer.

    The center will wrap up the feasibility study by October. The Ministry of National Defense will issue a decision on the KF-X initiative by year's end.

    Requirements

    The new jet is to have a combat radius about 1.5 times that of the F-16; an airframe life span 1.34 times longer than that of the F-16; better avionics than that of the F-16 Block 50; an electronic warfare suite; an infrared search-and-track system; and data link systems fit for a network-centric environment, the document says.

    South Korea's LIG Nex1 is likely to build the AESA radar using technology provided by Israel's Elta Systems.

    Among other required capabilities are thrust of 50,000 pounds, provided by either one or two engines; super-velocity intercept and supercruise capabilities; and the ability to hit targets in the air, on land and at sea.

    In the first 11 years of exploratory and full-scale development, about 120 KF-Xs would be built to replace F-4s and F-5s, and more than 130 aircraft would be produced after the first-phase models reach initial operational capability.

    An industry source here said Boeing might be the front-runner with its F/A-18 Super Hornet and other 4.5-generation fighter technologies.

    Sweden's Saab aerospace group might take part as a systems integrator with Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea's only aircraft maker, he said.

    Greg Lexton, vice president of Boeing Korea, said July 23Boeing is looking at South Korea's KF-X proposal and called an F/A-18 green aircraft a "possible idea."

    A Lockheed Martin executive noted that his firm had worked with South Korea to produce KF-16s under license and develop the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet. He also noted Lockheed's co-development work with European nations, Japan and Taiwan.

    "We'll look at what South Korea wants carefully and discuss what Lockheed Martin will be able to do or not be able to do for the KF-X in the coming months," he said.

    Defense analysts here remain skeptical about the effectiveness of the KF-X program.

    One chief researcher at the state-funded Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) recalled an earlier study by a local economic policy think tank that concluded that the program would cost at least $10 billion, but would reap only $3 billion in economic benefits.

    "I believe there have been no major changes in the content of the KF-X program since the 2007 feasibility study," he said. "There is almost no persuasion in the rationale behind the costly program. Do you want to acquire sophisticated stealth aircraft technologies through the KF-X partnership? Or do you believe indigenous KF-16+ aircraft could be operationally feasible and sold to other nations after 2020?"

    State-of-the-art fifth-generation combat aircraft, such as the F-35 and Typhoon, are expected to dominate the global market between 2020 and 2050, so developing an indigenous KF-16+-level fighter could never be sound economically and technically, the researcher said.

    South Korea Drops 5th-Generation Fighter Plan - Defense News
     
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  2. Mig-29

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    South Korea will develop an indigenous mechanically scanned array (MESA) radar for aircraft with the help of Israel, officials at the Defense Acquisition Program (DAPA) said Thursday. LIG Nex1, a leading defense firm in South Korea, will sign a deal with Israel's Elta Systems on the first phase of development of radars to equip TA-50 light-armed aircraft and FA-50 attack fighters, they said. Both firms will hold a signing ceremony Sept. 3 in Seoul.The TA-50 and FA-50 are modified versions of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet jointly built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin of the United States.The South Korean Air Force is buying 82 T-50 variants ― 50 T-50s, 22 TA-50s and 10 T-50Bs modified for aerobatics. KAI signed a deal last December to develop and produce 60 FA-50s by 2012 to replace A-37 attack jets and F-4/5 fighters as backup to the Air Force's KF-16s and F-15Ks. Under the envisaged agreement, LIG Nex1 will push for developing an indigenous MESA radar based on the Israeli firm's EL/M-2032 radar technologies, agency officials said. The EL/M-2032 radar is credited with a look-up tracking range of 65 to 100 kilometers. ``The indigenous radar is expected to be built by the end of 2010 and subsequently enter service in 2011,'' a DAPA official said, asking to remain anonymous. In the mid- to long-term, the domestically-built radar is likely to be installed on upgraded KF-16 fighters and further developed to an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to equip ``KF-X'' fighters with technology transfers from Elta, sources said. Initiated in 2001, the KF-X program aims to develop more than 120 indigenous fighters by 2020 in partnership with foreign aircraft manufacturers.

    ASIAN DEFENCE: South Korea to Develop Radar With Israel
     
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  3. blain2

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    South Koreans are a great example to emulate in terms of technological development for South Asia.
     
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  4. Mig-29

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    T-50 Golden Eagle is ready for a shot at a contest in Singapore.

    The T-50 Golden Eagle, a South Korean supersonic trainer jet, is ready for a shot at a contest in Singapore. But it needs to get over its Italian nemesis to achieve the feat after frustration in its first bidding competition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the shortlist with the T-50 is the M-346 of Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi, which was picked up as the preferred bidder in the Middle Eastern country earlier this year. Lockheed Martin, the bid partner, and the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the T-50 manufacturer, submitted its bid to Singapore this month. The country’s government sent the selected competitors requests for proposals late last year, and plans to decide on a preferred bidder between the two before the end of the year. The T-50 is trying to consolidate in the $500-million deal by pursuing stronger defense ties with Singapore. Following the introduction of the high-end jet during the Singapore Air Show in February last year, Korean Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Kye-hoon met with Singapore’s Air Force chief, Maj. Gen. Ng Chee Khern, to promote the jet in his three-day visit to the Southeast Asian country. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy is avoiding involvement in the project, marking a contrast to the strong government involvement in the T-50 bid for the UAE deal. This time, Lockheed is taking the lead. “This time, the ministry is just following the bid progress, but is not involved in the deal itself,” said Jung Hong-kon, a ministry official. However, an industry watcher says that Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is playing an active role in promoting his country’s bid. “This needs involvement at the highest level,” he said, calling on President Lee Myung-bak to push the T-50 bid. KAI could have an advantage in Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the project, as the U.S. maker participated in Singapore’s PC-21 contract and also forms the essential part of the country’s combat capability with its F-16 fighters. On the other hand, Aermacchi is teamed with ST Aerospace, a state-run Singaporean aviation service company. KAI expects that success in Singapore will be pivotal to the T-50 program, with which it wants to secure some 30 percent of the global trainers market within 25 years. It says it is confident when it comes to the quality of the Golden Eagle jet. The T-50, first launched in 2001, is regarded as the world’s sole supersonic high-performance trainer in production. However, high prices were a huge drag in the UAE contest, according to industry watchers. The T-50 jet’s flyaway cost is set at between 20 and 25 billion won ($16 and $20 million), while that of the M-346 is cheaper by up to a fifth. The Korean company has kept an extremely low profile about the prospects for the deal, saying that both the quality and price competitiveness of the jet and education service are their strong point in winning the bid. There were rumors that it would try some “special discount” for the first export deal, but a KAI official refused to confirm the speculation.

    ASIAN DEFENCE: T-50 Golden Eagle is ready for a shot at a contest in Singapore
     
  5. Mig-29

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    MH-60S Multi-Mission Helicopters for South Korea

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government Korea of eight MH-60S Multi-Mission Helicopters with 16 T700-GE-401C Turbo shaft engines and associated Airborne Mine Countermeasure (AMCM) Sensors, eight AN/AQS-20A Towed Sonar Mine Countermeasure Systems, eight AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems, eight AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization Systems, eight AN/ALQ-220 Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep Systems, eight AN/AWS-2 Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance Systems and related support and services. The estimated cost is $1.0 billion. The Republic of Korea has requested a possible sale eight MH-60S Multi-Mission Helicopters with 16 T700-GE-401C Turbo shaft engines and associated Airborne Mine Countermeasure (AMCM) Sensors, eight AN/AQS-20A Towed Sonar Mine Countermeasure Systems, eight AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems, eight AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization Systems, eight AN/ALQ-220 Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep Systems, eight AN/AWS-2 Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance Systems, test and support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support.

    ASIAN DEFENCE: MH-60S Multi-Mission Helicopters for South Korea
     
  6. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    South Korea Heads For The High Seas

    July 24, 2009: South Korea is establishing two high seas ("blue water") squadrons, each with a 7,600 ton KDX III Aegis destroyer, and three 4,500 ton destroyers, plus maritime patrol aircraft and support ships. This is a major shift for South Korea, which has long concentrated its naval power on coastal defense, against North Korean attack. But the North Korean navy, and armed forces in general, have been declining for over a decade, because the country has been going broke from mismanagement and the disappearance of Cold War era subsidies from the Soviet Union.

    Part of this high seas strategy is the building of a new naval base on the island of Jeju, off the south coast, in the straights between Korea and Japan. Construction will be completed in five years. Three KDX III Aegis destroyers are being built. One is in service, and the second will be commissioned later this year. Each of these ships carries two helicopters, in addition to anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. South Korea is also building a class of 1,800 ton submarines, for high seas operations.

    http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsurf/articles/20090724.aspx
     
  7. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    S. Korea, United States To Conduct War Games

    SEOUL - South Korea and the United States will kick off their annual computerized joint military exercise aimed at improving interoperability next month, the Combine Forces Command (CFC) here said July 24.

    The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), formerly known as Ulchi Focus Lens, will be held from Aug. 17-27, the command said in a news release.

    About 56,000 South Korean troops and 10,000 American troops will take part in the command and control, war-fighting exercise, a CFC spokesman said.

    The forthcoming exercise will be the second one in which South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff will serve in a leading role with the U.S. Forces Korea serving in a supporting role, in rehearsal training for the planned transition of wartime operational control from the U.S. military to Korean commanders.

    Under a 2007 agreement on command rearrangements, the U.S.-led CFC will be deactivated in April 17, 2012. The militaries will then launch separate theater commands.

    "UFG 09, as with all other CFC exercises, is a defense oriented exercise designed to improve the alliance's ability to defend the ROK against external aggression," the release said. "United Nations Command has informed the Korean People's Army in North Korea about UFG 09 and assured them that this is a defensive military readiness exercise, and that is not meant to be provocative in any way."

    North Korea regularly denounces joint military drills by South Korea and the United States, calling them as a rehearsal for invasion.

    S. Korea, United States To Conduct War Games - Defense News
     
  8. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    S. Korea, United States To Conduct War Games

    SEOUL - South Korea and the United States will kick off their annual computerized joint military exercise aimed at improving interoperability next month, the Combine Forces Command (CFC) here said July 24.

    The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), formerly known as Ulchi Focus Lens, will be held from Aug. 17-27, the command said in a news release.

    About 56,000 South Korean troops and 10,000 American troops will take part in the command and control, war-fighting exercise, a CFC spokesman said.

    The forthcoming exercise will be the second one in which South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff will serve in a leading role with the U.S. Forces Korea serving in a supporting role, in rehearsal training for the planned transition of wartime operational control from the U.S. military to Korean commanders.

    Under a 2007 agreement on command rearrangements, the U.S.-led CFC will be deactivated in April 17, 2012. The militaries will then launch separate theater commands.

    "UFG 09, as with all other CFC exercises, is a defense oriented exercise designed to improve the alliance's ability to defend the ROK against external aggression," the release said. "United Nations Command has informed the Korean People's Army in North Korea about UFG 09 and assured them that this is a defensive military readiness exercise, and that is not meant to be provocative in any way."

    North Korea regularly denounces joint military drills by South Korea and the United States, calling them as a rehearsal for invasion.

    S. Korea, United States To Conduct War Games - Defense News
     
  9. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    South Korean Military To Build Solar-Powered Unmanned Aircraft.


    SEOUL, July 25 (Bernama) -- South Korea's military plans to build a solar-powered unmanned aircraft from 2015, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a military source as saying Saturday.

    The state-run Korean Agency for Defense Development, which is in charge of developing weapons, is pushing to build a solar unmanned aerial vehicle as part of the government's efforts to go green, the source said.

    "The military plans to expand its investment in green-energy technology," the source said.

    Early this month, the Ministry of Defense said it will seek a 7.9 percent rise in its budget for next year with the aim of bolstering its weapons system to counter increasing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

    The proposal, if approved, would allow the ministry to spend 30.8 trillion won (US$24.6 billion) in fiscal 2010.

    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=427961
     
  10. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    South Korea and Lockheed team up to build and export Aegis warships.

    US defence group Lockheed Martin and South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries will team up to build and export mid-size warships equipped with advanced Aegis weapons systems, an official said Wednesday. They signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in May 2006 to jointly produce Aegis-equipped guided missile ships, Hyundai Heavy spokesman Cho Woo-Tae told. Cho said it is thought to be very rare for Lockheed to partner with a foreign company to produce Aegis-equipped vessels for possible sale to a third country. Aegis, one of the most advanced naval defence systems, is designed to simultaneously track and destroy a multiple number of incoming missiles. Asked why the agreement was not made public for three years, the spokesman said Hyundai Heavy rarely discloses MoUs. "I believe Lockheed decided to disclose it to the media probably because there is some progress in looking for buyers."

    Hyundai Heavy is the world's biggest shipbuilder. "The idea is that the partnership would make it possible to build high profit-margin warships at a reasonable price," said Cho. Concrete terms need to be fixed but the two firms could produce 4,000 to 6,000-ton ships under the joint project, Cho said. He added the vessels could be sold to third countries such as India but no firm decisions had been made given the sensitivity of the technology. South Korea's navy in May 2007 launched its first Aegis-equipped warship, the 7,600-ton Sejong the Great, jointly built by Hyundai and Lockheed. It was used to track North Korea's long-range rocket launch in April, along with US Aegis ships. South Korea plans to launch a second Aegis destroyer in 2010 and a third in 2012, in an attempt to keep up with the naval powers of Japan and China.

    ASIAN DEFENCE: South Korea and Lockheed team up to build and export Aegis warships
     
  11. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    S. Korea to Upgrade Military Communication Network

    South Korea will begin developing a digital command-and-control and sensor-to-shooter battlefield system next year, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced July 28.

    The plan was approved by the supreme arms procurement committee presided over by Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee, the agency said in a news release.

    The development of the Tactical Information Communication Network (TICN) will be completed by 2012.

    Work will begin with two years of exploratory development and funding of about 181 billion won ($146 million), said Yoon Chang-oak, chief of the agency's tactical communication and control business department. Over the subsequent eight years, about 4.8 trillion won ($3.8 billion) will be spent to produce and deploy the TICN replacing the South Korean Army's SPIDER communications system, Yoon said.

    "For the TICN development, we'll make the most of the made-in-Korea WiBro technology and other indigenous state-of-the-art information technologies with the help of local communications systems developers," Yoon said.

    The SPIDER system can transmit only still images and voice data; TICN will allow for the integrated transmission of video, image and voice data more than 10 times faster, he said.

    The agency will open a bid for the TICN development project in August and sign contracts with final bidders by the end of December, Yoon noted.

    DAPA sources said companies that participated in the exploratory development phase, such as Samsung Thales, LIG Nex1 and Huneed Technologies, will likely to be selected as preferred bidders for the full-scale development phase again.

    The TICN exploratory development was overseen by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development. The network system consists of five sub-systems, including High Capacity Trunk Radio (HCTR), Tactical Multi-band and Multi-role Radio (TMMR) and Network Management System (NMS).

    Samsung Thales was a main developer of TICN, taking charge of the development of NMS and two other sub-systems. LIG Nex1 was in charge of TMMR, while Huneed was a main contractor for HCTR.

    S. Korea to Upgrade Military Communication Network - Defense News
     
  12. Mig-29

    Mig-29 FULL MEMBER

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    South Korea and the United States will conduct joint military exercise


    South Korea and the United States will kick off their annual computerized joint military exercise aimed at improving interoperability next month, the Combine Forces Command (CFC) here said July 24. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), formerly known as Ulchi Focus Lens, will be held from Aug. 17-27, the command said in a news release.

    About 56,000 South Korean troops and 10,000 American troops will take part in the command and control, war-fighting exercise, a CFC spokesman said. The forthcoming exercise will be the second one in which South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff will serve in a leading role with the U.S. Forces Korea serving in a supporting role, in rehearsal training for the planned transition of wartime operational control from the U.S. military to Korean commanders.

    Under a 2007 agreement on command rearrangements, the U.S.-led CFC will be deactivated in April 17, 2012. The militaries will then launch separate theater commands. "UFG 09, as with all other CFC exercises, is a defense oriented exercise designed to improve the alliance's ability to defend the ROK against external aggression," the release said. "United Nations Command has informed the Korean People's Army in North Korea about UFG 09 and assured them that this is a defensive military readiness exercise, and that is not meant to be provocative in any way."North Korea regularly denounces joint military drills by South Korea and the United States, calling them as a rehearsal for invasion.

    ASIAN DEFENCE: South Korea and the United States will conduct joint military exercise
     
  13. Mig-29

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    South Korea unveiled its first homegrown helicopter


    South Korea on Friday unveiled its first homegrown helicopter, hoping it will propel the nation's budding aerospace industry and step in for an aging military fleet. Able to push 260km per hour and hover high above the nation's craggy terrain, the first prototype of the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), also called the "Surion," was displayed at a ceremony in this southwestern city attended by senior government officials, including President Lee Myung-bak. "We should use the successful development of the indigenous helicopter as a spring board to move forward and join the ranks of advanced industrialized countries in the 21st century," Lee said at the ceremony.

    Helped by Europe's leading helicopter manufacturer, Eurocopter, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. and other local companies designed the Surion, with 60 percent of all parts and components being made in the country. Officials have stressed Surion's ability to serve in both defense and civilian roles is significant in terms of future growth potential. "Even though it is primarily a military helicopter, the KUH already satisfies 96 percent or 2,363 of the 2,460 international operational standards for civilian helicopters," said Lee Jae-hong, head of the machinery, aerospace and defense industry division at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The project's managers said that while initial aircraft will be supplied exclusively to the military, civilian orders will be sought beginning in 2011 at the latest to ensure a better return on investment. The government and private firms have poured a combined 1.3 trillion won (US$1 billion) into the aircraft's development since it began in 2006.
    South Korea has produced propeller-driven supersonic jets in the past, but the Surion makes it one of only 11 countries in the world to turn out an indigenous helicopter. The ministry, which contributed heavily to the project, said the aircraft will help South Korea make inroads into the fiercely competitive global aerospace market. In addition to the prototype, three other aircraft will be built to conduct various flight safety tests. Full-scale production is to begin in June 2012. South Korea's aging fleet of UH-1Hs and 500MD choppers, many of which have been in service for over 30 years, are set to be phased out. Independent sources speculate the South Korean military may require as many as 250 Surion choppers. Seoul also aims to win 300 overseas military orders for the KUH in the next 25 years, a government official said on condition of anonymity. That is roughly 30 percent of the projected global demand for Surion-type choppers, which are larger than the UH-1 Iroquois but smaller than the UH-60 Black Hawks.

    The Surion is designed to fly a fully equipped squad of troops or an equal amount of equipment for two hours. It can climb 152m per minute and maintain a stable hover at 3,000m. Special emphasis was placed in the design on meeting variable combat conditions needed to ensure the survival of the crew. Related to the KUH development, the Defense Ministry said earlier in the week it may scrap a plan to buy used Apache helicopters from the United States because of feasibility issues. With the move, South Korea is expected to build an indigenous fleet of attack helicopters to replace its AH-1 Cobra fleet in the coming years.

    20090731113928_bodyfile.jpg

    ASIAN DEFENCE: South Korea unveiled its first homegrown helicopter
     
  14. Mig-29

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    South Korea may scrap plan to buy used U.S. Apache helicopters

    South Korea is considering scrapping its plan to buy second-hand Apache attack helicopters from the United States due to feasibility issues, an official said Wednesday. The South Korean Army has hundreds of helicopters that will be decommissioned over the next decade. The country began considering purchasing replacements from the U.S. last year when its longstanding ally offered to sell dozens of used Apaches at discount prices.
    But a South Korean defense official privy to the matter said his government would have to purchase 30 years worth of replacement parts along with the Apaches, creating feasibility issues. "Tens of thousands of parts are involved in a single Apache helicopter," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Buying 30 years worth of them is financially difficult." "There is also a problem with the compatibility between Apaches and the tactical data link systems we operate here," the official added. South Korea seeks to develop its own attack helicopters in a project estimated to cost between 5 trillion to 10 trillion won (US$4 billion to $8 billion), while it seeks to develop an indigenous utility helicopter. "We expect to reach a final conclusion as early as early next year on how we're going to replace our aging helicopters," the official said. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration in Seoul released a statement concerning the plan, saying, "no ultimate decision has been made."


    ASIAN DEFENCE: South Korea may scrap plan to buy used U.S. Apache helicopters
     
  15. Mig-29

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    US May Withdraw More Apache Helos From Korea by 2012

    The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is considering pulling its remaining battalion of Apache attack helicopters out of South Korea by 2012, when operational control (OPCON) of South Korean troops during wartime is transferred from the U.S. military to South Korean commanders, according to an American industry official. The comment was made by the official at Lockheed Martin, which was organizing a media tour for Korean journalists in mid-July, sources here said Sunday.``The official privy to U.S. military affairs made the comment during a briefing on his firm's helicopter armament,'' a source said on condition of anonymity. ``He was quite confident about the information.''A U.S. military source in Seoul questioned the credibility of the official's comment but agreed at the same time that USFK delployments could be changed in a flexible manner, in accordance with evolving security conditions.The remark, in particular, came at a sensitive time when the Seoul government was reconsidering purchasing second-hand U.S. Apache helicopters, as relevant conditions regarding spare parts supply and systems integration were not met.Earlier, Seoul had positively considered buying 36 refurbished Apache helicopters from the U.S. government in a bid to boost the Army's independent anti-tank and fire support capabilities, as well as fill an operational gap following the relocation of one of the two USFK Apache battalions in March for rotational deployment to Afghanistan.The USFK now maintains a battalion of 24 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters. The AH-64D Apache Longbow is an all-weather, day-night military attack helicopter. Its armament includes a 30mm M230 Chain Gun, AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and Hydra 70 laser-guided rockets.The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is conducting a comprehensive feasibility study on introducing advanced attack helicopters to replace the Army's aging 500MD TOW and AH-1S helicopters. A DAPA spokesman said the agency was studying all options on the table, including purchasing older Apaches, ordering new foreign attack helicopters and building an indigenous model. On July 31, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), South Korea's only aircraft maker, unveiled the first prototype of the indigenous Surion utility helicopter built with technical assistance from Eurocopter.KAI hopes that it will develop the Surion into a helicopter gunship or use accrued technologies in building a heavy attack helicopter in partnership with foreign manufacturers.

    ASIAN DEFENCE: US May Withdraw More Apache Helos From Korea by 2012