Aug. 7 (UPI) -- South Korea has released its first prototype of an active electronically scanned array for use in fighter jets under development.
Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration held a launching ceremony at the Hanwha Systems Research Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Yonhap and News 1 reported.
The homegrown AESA radar was developed without technology transfers from overseas partners, according to reports. In 2015, the Obama administration had turned down a South Korean request for the transfer of core U.S. technologies for Seoul's KF-X fighter jet project. South Korea subsequently began to pursue domestic development of AESA under the supervision of the Agency for Defense Development.
The South Korean agency conducted ground tests and inspections in 2017 and 2018 for the prototype. An agency official said the South Korean radar is "at a level similar to that of technology in the United States or China," according to Yonhap.
The number of AESA antenna elements can be modified and change the radar sweep. The array can be used on South Korea's FA-50, a light combat aircraft, and on warships to enhance situational awareness, the South Korean official said.
On Friday, DAPA officials said the technology prototype had been developed despite concerns it would be difficult to build AESA domestically, according to News 1.
The AESA model is to be delivered to Korea Aerospace Industries and installed on the KF-X prototype to be released in the first half of 2021.
The KF-X is being developed in partnership with Indonesia. The program began in 2016.
The plan is to produce 180 fighter jets by 2026, but Indonesia has been delaying payment of its share of development costs, according to local press reports.
Jung Kwang-sun, head of DAPA's KF-X Program, said negotiations with Indonesia have been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.