Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) aims to develop its indigenous transport and multipurpose aircraft for the South Korea military, the MilitaryLeak reported on May 16.
KAI has reached a consensus with the South Korea Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on the need to develop transport and multipurpose aircraft to meet domestic demand for the planes, according to the foreign media.
South Korea is among the world’s seven major aircraft manufacturing countries along with the United States, Britain, China, Japan, Russia and the European Union.
KAI’s internal analysis of the domestic transport aircraft market suggested about 100 transport aircraft would be in demand over the next three decades given the life span of aircraft flown by the military.
If developed, the transport aircraft would be used for multiple purposes, including as a reconnaissance plane and a maritime patrol aircraft, as it shares the same platform as a midsized aircraft.
To that end, KAI is reportedly eyeing international partnerships, specifically European company Airbus Defence and Space, Ukraine’s Antonov, and Brazil’s Embraer.
In addition, the company believes there will be a chance to sell about 100 airlift planes overseas. The South Korean military operates about 60 transport aircraft built by foreign firms.
The Air Force operates C-130s and CN-235s, mainly for airlift operations, while the Navy has P-3Cs and P-8As for maritime patrol missions. The oldest planes among the P-3C fleet were adopted 25 years ago. KAI expects it will be able to build its own transport aircraft in seven years with an investment of about $2.7 billion.
KAI is a South Korean aerospace and defense company. It was originally established as a joint venture of Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries’ aerospace division, and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Company (HYSA).