Elbit, Sharp Aviation K establish joint venture company in South Korea


F-16 fighter

Elbit Systems, in collaboration with South Korea-based aviation service supplier Sharp Aviation K, has established a joint venture (JV) company to provide capabilities in the domains of maintenance, repair and production of advanced avionics for military applications.

Sharp Elbit Systems Aerospace (SESA) will also manage research and development of systems and avionics for the Republic of Korea military's existing and future projects, including the Korean Light Attack Helicopter (LAH) and the Korean Future Fighter (KFX) development programmes.

Elbit Systems president and CEO Bezhalel Machlis said the establishment of the JV represents a significant step for the company in South Korea, which is considered to be a very important market.

''We trust that establishing this jointly owned company will bring new opportunities and will be of mutual benefit for both our companies and for Korea,'' Machlis added.

Sharp Aviation K president and CEO Soon-Suk Paik said SESA will collaborate with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and other international and Korean manufacturers to offer advanced solutions and systems to the Korean aerospace market.

Working with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of Korea and international and Korean manufacturers, SESA will offer the Korean aerospace market advanced solutions and systems, made in Korea and based on Elbit Systems' technological portfolio and Sharp Aviation K's vast experience in aviation and avionics, strong local presence and deep understanding of the Korean market".

The solutions will be based on Elbit's technological portfolio and use Sharp Aviation K's extensive expertise in aviation and avionics, understanding of the domestic market and strong local presence, Paik added.

As part of the transaction, contracts presently managed by Sharp Aviation K will be transferred to SESA, which will also be capable of delivering offset solutions to foreign suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) that sell defence goods and services in Korea.

Currently owning 19% of the company, Elbit also has an option to increase its ownership to 50% in the future.

Pursued in collaboration with Indonesia, the KFX programme seeks development of a 4.5th generation fighter with higher capabilities compared to the Republic of Korea Air Force's (ROKAF) KF-16 fighter by 2020.

The LAH programme calls for production of a light aircraft in the 4.5t class, with a capacity to carry six to eight personnel.


Image: The aircraft developed under the KFX programme will feature advanced capabilities than ROKAF's KF-16 fighters. Photo: US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jack Braden.

Defence Technology