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South Korea awards contracts for KF-21, engine production

Hanwha Aerospace has been contracted to produce 40 GE F414-GE-400 engines for 20 KAI KF-21 4.5-generation fighter aircraft that will be manufactured between 2024 and 2027. (Hanwha Aerospace)

Hanwha Aerospace and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) have signed contracts with South Korea's national arms procurement agency to produce the first batch of KAI KF-21 4.5-generation fighter aircraft.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration's (DAPA's) award of a contract to Hanwha Aerospace covers the delivery of 40 General Electric (GE) F414-GE-400 engines and spare modules for the KF-21 programme from June 2024 to December 2027, Hanwha Aerospace said on 25 June. Valued at KRW556 billion (USD401 million), the contract also covers engine maintenance manuals and on-site technical support, the company added.

The first engines are “expected to be [delivered] by the end of 2025”, a Hanwha Aerospace spokesperson told Janes on 26 June.

DAPA's contract with KAI is for the production of an initial batch of KF-21s. With a value of KRW1.96 trillion, the contract “covers a total of 20 KF-21 units, including follow-up logistics support, such as technical manuals and training”, a KAI spokesperson told Janes.

The production contract is active from 25 June 2024 to 31 August 2027, according to KAI.

In a separate filing to the South Korean securities exchange on 25 June, KAI added that the contract value “includes approximately KRW408.1 billion of investment” for development of the aircraft. The KF-21's current level of development is at 80%, according to KAI. The development is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

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