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DX Korea 2022: KAI unveils MC-X transport aircraft proposal

KAI has outlined plans to develop a new military transport aircraft for South Korean and export markets. The MC-X development programme is expected to continue through the 2020s. (Janes/Jon Grevatt)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has unveiled a model of its proposed new military multirole cargo aircraft, which it is calling the MC-X.

A company official told Janes at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition – being held in Goyang from 21 to 25 September – that the new transport aircraft could be operational in the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) within 10 years.

β€œWe envisage that the development of the MC-X could take about seven or eight years. We could start production of the aircraft in 2031 or 2032,” the KAI official said.

He added that while KAI plans to develop and produce the aircraft on its own, it is possible that a foreign industry partner could join the programme.

β€œWe plan to do this ourselves. But we also plan to undertake a technology readiness assessment (TRA) and if this TRA identifies certain requirements it is possible that we would look for a foreign partner,” the official added.

The KAI official also said that the company is in talks with the RoKAF and the country's Ministry of National Defense (MND) to understand expected future transport requirements. The KAI official said that envisaged opportunities for the MC-X could also include supplies to the RoK Navy and army.

He added that KAI's objective is to develop an aircraft that is between the size and capabilities of Lockheed Martin's C-130 and Airbus' A400M transport aircraft. β€œIn export markets we also see an opportunity with the MC-X to replace foreign customers' C-130H platforms,” he said.

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