ELTA to Assist South Korea in KF-X AESA Radar Testing

South Korea has signed a technology support contract with IAI's ELTA Systems and has abandoned a plan to build a radar system for its KF-X fighter jet program

South Korea has formally decided to receive some technology support from Israel for the development of an advanced radar system in its KF-X fighter jet program, Seoul's arms procurement agency said Tuesday.

South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it has signed an agreement with Israeli ELTA Systems for airborne testing of the radar. The news comes after reports of termination of the indigenous radar development by South Korean Agency for Defense Development (ADD).

According to the agreement, ELTA will provide technology support for operational testing of the radar. "It's about technology support related to the operation test of a prototype radar, not the development itself," the DAPA said.

The agency would not reveal the value of the contract apparently with ELTA, while an industry official said it's worth around US$35.5 million.

The DAPA's statement followed a news report that the ADD has abandoned a push to develop the radar on its own despite a partnership with a local defense firm.

In 2016, the ADD chose Hanwha Thales, a local defense firm later renamed Hanwha Systems, as the preferential bidder for the radar development. The ADD said earlier it could seek outside help if Hanhwa falters in developing such an advanced radar system for use by South Korea's envisioned fighter jets.

South Korea launched the KF-X project in 2015 with the aim of producing more than 120 cutting-edge fighters to replace its aging jet fleet of F-4s and F-5s.


[Sources: Yonhap, Aviation Analysis]


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