South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said it plans to conclude a provisional contract with Indonesia by late October. Jakarta is interested in purchasing Seoul's fleet of indigenous fighter jets. Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea air force
SEOUL, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- South Korea's military said it would develop a fleet of indigenous fighter jets without U.S. core technology and the move would not affect Seoul's defense contract with Indonesia.
South Korean television network SBS reported Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said his country would postpone a commitment to invest in the Korean Fighter Experimental project, a plan to replace 120 older planes with new aircraft.
Indonesia previously committed a 20 percent stake, or $1.46 billion toward the $7.38 billion project. Though Ryadcudu's announcement does not mean Indonesia plans to withdraw from its initial agreement, a U.S. ban on sharing core technologies with Seoul has placed the KF-X project at risk for delayed development.
On Tuesday, however, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said it plans to conclude a provisional contract with Indonesia by late October, and dismissed reports Indonesia is withdrawing from its initial agreement. DAPA said the KF-X program is under Indonesia review.
"Through diplomatic and defense ministry channels, we were able to confirm earlier reports that Indonesia is postponing a commitment to participate in the KF-X program are not true," an unidentified DAPA official told South Korean outlet News 1. "We are actively negotiating with Indonesian authorities, and a provisional contract is being planned."
In September, others had remained less confident about Seoul's deal with Indonesia. SBS reported DAPA chief Jang Myung-jin had said on Sept. 17 during a parliamentary audit challenges remained with regard to retaining Indonesia's commitment, and that "worst-case scenarios" must be considered.
Last month, the South Korean agency had said the United States had barred Lockheed Martin from sharing some of the technologies that include an active electronically scanned array and a radio frequency jammer.