General Electric (GE) is reportedly planning to supply advanced engines for South Korea’s next-generation indigenous fighter jet development programme.
The company is currently exploring options to submit a proposal to the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) programme’s preferred bidder, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to use its F414-GE-400 power plant.
GE Korea CEO Chris Khang was quoted by The Korea Times as saying that the company has been a long-term supporter of South Korea’s aviation industry, and now wants to be part of the KF-X programme.
"We are ready to offer the most capable and competitive engine solutions with F414, a proven platform with the latest technology and a strong track record of reliability and operability that KF-X requires."
If selected by KAI, the company is expected to also transfer its manufacturing technology, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities.
The F414-GE-400 engine incorporates advanced technology with the proven design base of the F404 afterburning turbofan engine, and currently powers the US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, Saab Gripen NG and Mark II Tejas light combat aircraft.
Khang said one of the significant factors for KF-X programme’s success was the exportability of the fighter aircraft, and noted that the company already supported KAI’s T-50 and FA-50 export programmes to Indonesia, Iraq, and the Philippines.
"With GE’s strong global network and technology leadership, we will continue to play a key role in facilitating Korea’s efforts to sell its next-generation aircraft abroad."
The KF-X project is valued at KRW8.5trn ($7.64bn). It covers domestic development and production of approximately 120 fighter jets of the F-16 class for replacement of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) aging fleet of F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fighters.
According to the publication, KAI is scheduled to deliver all 120 twin-engine aircraft to ROKAF by 2032.