SEOUL, July 28 (UPI) -- Israeli and South Korean avionics firms will sign an agreement in September to develop a mechanically scanned array radar for the South Korean air force.
LIG Nex1, based in Seoul, and Elta Systems, part of Israel Aerospace Industries, will build the system for South Korea's upcoming TA-50 light-armed aircraft and the FA-50 attack fighters, a report in The Korea Times newspaper stated.
An official signing ceremony will take place Sept. 3 in Seoul, the report said, quoting unnamed sources within South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program.
The jointly produced radar will be based on Elta's EL/M-2032 radar technologies with a look-up tracking range of 40-65 miles. The domestically built, or "indigenous," radar is scheduled to be operating by the end of 2010 and in service the following year with the Republic of Korea air force, the source said.
The agreement is in keeping with South Korea's strategy to develop and manufacture its own military equipment part financed by export orders including interest from Iraq and India.
The TA-50 and FA-50 are direct developments from the country's two-seater T-50 Golden Eagle, a supersonic advanced trainer first built by Korean Aerospace Industries in the early 1990s. The TA and FA are derived from the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the trainer developed for future pilots of the F-16, which is used by South Korea.
The T-50 trainer uses a General Electric F404 turbofan engine producing 17,700 lbf of thrust for a maximum speed of Mach 1.4 to 48,000 feet altitude. The range is around 1,150 miles.
It entered service with Korea in February 2005 and around 50 have been built with a price tag estimated at $21 million apiece in 2008.
Lockheed Martin built an A-50, the armed version of the T-50 that carries a 20mm cannon and an AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missile. It also uses their own AN/PG-67(v)4 radar.
South Korea's TA-50 and the more heavily armed single-seater FA-50 were to use the Israeli EL/M-2032 pulse-Doppler radar. They will now use the joint Israeli-Korean developed radar based on the EL/M-2032.
Cooperation between the two firms could lead to development of an active electronically scanned array radar system, The Korea Times noted.
Sixty FA-50 versions are scheduled to be operating by 2013.
Sales of T-50s were discusses by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in February during a meeting that focused on Korean opportunities to help rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure, The Korea Times reported in March. No sources were named in the report.
An Iraqi pilot accompanying Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi to Korea in January flew a T-50, the Times said.