Indonesia is continuing ahead with its ambitious plans to partner with South Korea for the 4.5 generation KF-X/IF-X programme.
Daily News spoke with Nurkaswiyanto, Chief Engineer IF-X, Technology Centre Division, Directorate of Technology & Development at Indonesia’s state owned airframer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) for an update on the programme.
According to Nurkaswiyanto, one of the main goals of the programme was to develop fighter development capability within Indonesia. The development of capability to manufacture large composite structures for aerospace requirements was another key aspect of the IF-X programme.
Indonesia is now trying to better manage its financial commitment for the IF-X programme and Korea has been supportive of such requests, company officials say. In September, following discussions with the presidents of Indonesia and South Korea, both nations agreed to move ahead with the programme.
The total cost of developing the 4.5 generation fighter is pegged at US$8 billion, with Indonesia to undertake a 20 percent workshare. The total financial commitment for Indonesia is expected to touch US$2.2 – 2.3 billion, over the 10-year design and development cycle.
The cost of each KF-X/IF-X fighter which was initially pegged at US$70 million per aircraft, is now expected to increase to US$75 million per aircraft.
Around 200 Indonesian engineers are already working on the IF-X programme, with some engineers based in South Korea. Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) has also deputed some senior engineers to Indonesia. PT Dirgantara Indonesia has been tasked with producing the composite wing and horizontal and vertical stabilisers for the KF-X and IF-X. While the wing for the first prototype will be built in Korea, all wings for production versions of the KF-X and IF-X will be built in Indonesia, Nurkaswiyanto says.
PTDI will also undertake the integration of weapons and sensors proposed by the Indonesian Air Force, including older weapons such as the AGM65. Indonesia is expected to retain the Diehl Iris-T and MBDA Meteor as the main missile armament for the IF-X.
PTDI will undertake the integration of a 480-gallon external drop tank to meet an Indonesian air force requirement. Korea will use a 370 gallon drop tank for KF-X aircraft.
The Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the KF-X/IF-X programme was completed in June and the Critical Design Review (CDR) is slated for completion in April 2019, following which the production of the first prototype will commence. The first KF-X prototype will roll-out in 2020.
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