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South Korea's KT-1 trainers set for Peru

May 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM   |   Comments

SEOUL, May 19 (UPI) -- South Korea moved closer to exporting its KT-1 trainer aircraft to Peru after direct talks with Peruvian President Alan Garcia.

South Korean special envoy Lee Sang-deuk, who is an elder brother of President Lee Myung-bak, made the statement after a meeting with Garcia in Lima.

"Garcia was well aware of the excellent features of the KT-1 planes and was satisfied with various supportive measures, such as a private pilot training program," Sang-deuk told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

"The president promised to confirm the deal after consulting with the defense ministry."

Sang-deuk was accompanied by Kim Hong-kyung, president of Korea Aerospace Industries that makes the plane. Hong-kyung said representatives from KAI would be discussing a contract with the Peruvian military during the next several weeks.

The KT-1 is a single-engine turboprop jointly developed by KAI and South Korea's Agency for Defense Development. The basic design is by Daewoo Heavy Industries.

The plane is the first completely indigenous South Korean aircraft. It first flew in 1991 and in 2000 it was inducted into the South Korean air force which now operates around 85 of the aircraft.

The South Korean government is pushing hard for export orders to bring the manufacturing costs down of the KT-1. Only Turkey and Indonesia have bought the aircraft which as come up against stiff competition from Brazil's Embraer aircraft manufacturer.

Indonesia purchased seven 12 KT-1 aircraft in 2001 and ordered five more. But South Korea lost out on more sales last year when Jakarta chose the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light-attack turboprop.

The first of Indonesia's eight Super Tucano aircraft will arrive in 2012 and includes ground-support stations and a logistics package. It was the first order for the Super Tucano in the Asia-Pacific region, but more could follow.

"Air force headquarters has decided to replace our Rockwell OV-10 Broncos with as many as 16 Super Tucanos," Indonesian air force operational commander Yushan Sayuti said last year.

The other KT-1 customer is Turkey which signed a $400 million deal in 2007 or 40 aircraft with an option to buy 15 more.

The KT-1T variant for Turkey has an upgraded a pressurization system, an on-board oxygen-generating system and a throttle-and-stick system where the stick has in-built buttons and switches for a multitude of functions easily used by the pilot.

The 950-horsepower engine gives the plane a maximum speed of around 350 mph and a maximum altitude is 36,000 feet. Refuelling distance of 1,050 miles.

Topics: Alan Garcia
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