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DAPA talks with Indonesia to resolve KF-21 payment problems

The sixth KF-21 prototype flies in June 2023 with both South Korean and Indonesian flags painted on its nose section. However, the Indonesian flag was missing from the fifth prototype, which is expected to be given to Jakarta. This likely reflected ongoing tensions between the two partners over Jakarta's payment delays. (DAPA)

The head of South Korea's Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has visited Indonesia in a bid to resolve problems associated with Jakarta's delayed payments for the joint development of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21/IFX 4.5-generation fighter.

The Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said on 6 October that Eom Dong-hwan, minister of DAPA, had met the Indonesian Minister of Defense, Prabowo Subianto. However, neither DAPA nor the Indonesian MoD have commented on the outcome of the discussion.

In a statement to Janes, DAPA said it “is continuing its effort to normalise the Republic of Korea-Republic of Indonesia (RoK-RI) Joint Development of the KF-21”. However, the agency added that the disclosure of details of the meeting “is restricted”, as it involves discussions between the two countries.

Jakarta has complained of issues associated with its involvement in the KF-21/IFX programme. On 2 October the Presidential Chief of Staff, H Moeldoko, said there are three major issues related to the sustainability of the KF-21/IFX co-operation programme. These include “intellectual property rights, the agreement, and marketing rights”, he said in an official statement from the Presidential Staff Office.

Moeldoko acknowledged that the project's cost share allocation “was delayed and needed renegotiation to solve this issue”. Moeldoko added that the matter of payment “had become a decision taken by the finance ministry”.

“This collaboration has put a stake in the political relations between Indonesia and South Korea. We have to consider it seriously,” he said.

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