The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has received maintenance order of the U.S Air Force's F-16 (Fighting Falcon) jets, proving its global aerospace MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) capabilities.
KAI announced on October 31 that it has concluded a US$48.8 million contract with the U.S. Air Force with regard to the maintenance and structural augmentation of about 90 units of F-16 fighter jets that the American Pacific Air Force operates. The contract commences in October 2017 and ends in September 2022.
The contract calls for bringing the aircraft into KAI’s repair shop to conduct inspections. When any defects of the fighter jet are discovered, the company’s mechanics will repair and supplement the faulty jet as well as improve its performance. In order to ensure the aircraft’s perfect performance, the mechanics require high technological skills and quality control ability.
|F-16 Fighter Jet Planes (Photo: U.S. Pacific Air Forces official website)|
KAI first received a maintenance order from the U.S. Air Force in 2006, starting with the service life extension of the F-16 fighter jet and subsequently the maintenance for the H-53 helicopter in 2010.
A KAI official said, “We beat the leading aircraft companies of advanced countries including Japan in a fierce international bid. The deal is once again a testament to the first-class technological prowess of KAI’s aircraft maintenance and excellent project management ability.”
KAI has conducted the service of repairing and altering diverse military planes, including the advanced T-50 and the basic KT-1 which the company developed and produces. It also implemented the A-10’s main wing replacement, performance improvement of the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft and alteration of the E-737 jet, accumulating relevant technological skills.
With the aim of expanding into civil aircraft maintenance service, KAI invested approximately 700 billion won, along with Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang Province) and Sacheon City, to establish 310,000-squre meter industrial complex near its headquarters located in the city.
Currently, KAI is preparing for a performance improvement project of Korean military aircraft including CH-47D. Based on its technological prowess accumulated through the development and production of aircraft and orders of aircraft received from the military, the company seeks to expand to the civilian aircraft field. In this regard, KAI plans to promote the aerospace MRO as a new growth engine which will help revive the national and regional economies.
Another official said: “The establishment of the aerospace MRO industrial complex is expected to bring about diverse positive effects, such as improving the safety of local low cost carriers (LLCs), job creation, regional economic revival and prevention of drainage of foreign currency.” The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport predicted that the complex will be able to save foreign currency amounting to more than 1 trillion won per year and create 8,000 new jobs.
The local MRO market totals approximately 3.5 trillion won (military demand 2 trillion won, civilian demand1.5 trillion won). The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade predicted that the domestic MRO market will grow to 4.2 trillion won by 2020.
Park Byung-uk email@example.com
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