PT DI group to S. Korea for fighter aircraft program

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - State aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) has sent 35 personnel to South Korea to make preparations for an Indonesia-South Korea cooperation program to develop a 4.5th generation fighter aircraft.

"We sent 35 personnel to Korea last month. They were sent to carry out an assignment given to PT DI by the government, in this case the defense ministry," PT DI Director of Technology and Business Development Dita Ardonni Jafri said here on Monday.

The program to develop the future fighter aircraft was codenamed KF-X/IF-X (Korea Fighter Experiment)/Indonesia Fighter Experiment).

The preparations would take a long time as the certificate would only be issued in 2020, he said.

The fighter jet to be made under the program would be of a higher class than the F-16 or Sukhoi-30 because it would be of the 4.5th generation but still be lower than the US` F-35 which was a fifth generation aircraft.

The aircraft`would have a figthing capability within a radius of 600 nautical miles, an endurance of 4.5 hours and a payload including armaments of up to 6,000 kg.

Through the program which consisted of actvities to design, produce , integrate and test the aircraft , the Indonesian government wanted indirectly to develop the domestic aviation industry.

The two governmentd signed s Letter of Intent on the project on March 6, 2009, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on July 15, 2010, a non-disclosure agreement on November 20, 2010, an intellectual property right as well as a project agreement on March 11, 2011.

Under those agreements, the KF-X/IF-X program will begin a technology development phase for a year (2011-2012), to carry out studies on system requirements, configuration requirements, and core technology development.

From 2013 to 2020, the program will start an engineering manufacture development phase, conduct a preliminary design, detailed design, and prototype production certification. Full production is expected to done in 2021.

Meanwhile, Indonesia and South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation that includes cooperation in defense industry in early September 2011.

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-Jin signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.