South Korea wants the US to buy its T-50 jet trainer in return for purchasing F-35


Senior Member
Jun 23, 2010
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Seoul is eyeing a barter deal with the Pentagon under which a local aircraft developer would provide supersonic trainer jets to the United States in exchange for stealth fighters, the head of the country's arms procurement agency said Wednesday.When asked about the feasibility of a swap deal with Lockheed Martin for its F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter, Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) Commissioner Noh Dae-lae said, "We are considering requesting an offset deal using the T-50."

"If we buy stealth fighters from the U.S., we will push for sales of the T-50," Noh said.

Washington is planning to replace as many as 500 of its aging trainer jets, making it one of the largest potential markets for the T-50 Golden Eagle.

Earlier in the day, Noh said Seoul will choose the winner of what will be the biggest arms-procurement deal ever in Korea, a plan to purchase 60 high-end fighter jets, in October 2012.

He said the government will review the roadmap for the long-stalled combat aircraft purchase plan in June this year, while denying media speculation suggesting that Seoul has already decided to purchase Lockheed Martin's F-35s without even opening the bidding.

The chief of the state-run agency also said that Korea will be able to deploy new fighter jets no sooner than 2016, given that it takes four or more years to accept delivery from a supplier after concluding the deal.

"It is not possible to deploy them from 2015," he said.

Noh said DAPA will pick the winner of the FX-III, the third and final stage of the fighter acquisition plan, in consideration of the "level of stealth capability, price and how much of the aircraft would be assembled in Korea."

Seoul launched the FX program in 1988 to replace the Air Force's aging combat aircraft with some 120 advanced fighters.

The ambitious project suffered major setbacks due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis, resulting in the Air Force only purchasing half of its original target so far.

Lockheed Martin's F-35, Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is made by a European consortium, will likely compete for the FX-III project.

Meanwhile, DAPA said it will also announce the winner of a procurement project to buy 36 attack helicopters in October 2012, refuting claims that it has already decided to purchase Apache helicopters from Boeing.
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Senior Member
Sep 5, 2009
Good going, South Korea. T-50 is a great platform anyway.

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