General Electric prepares to launch localisation programme in South Korea

IHS Janes

22 June 2016
A concept model of the KAI KFX, displayed at ADEX 2015. Source: IHS/James Hardy

Key Points

  • General Electric set to expand engagement with South Korean industry
  • Offset attached to pending sale of KFX engines features at least 50% localisation

General Electric (GE) has outlined an expansive localisation programme to support its pending contract to supply F414 turbofan engines for the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) Korean Fighter Experimental (KFX) aircraft.

A GE spokesman told IHS Jane’s on 21 June that although the F414 purchase contract is still being negotiated the company’s initial defence offset proposal includes a plan, which is still subject to change, to build more than 50% of the powerplant’s components in South Korea.

South Korea’s military procurement agency, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), announced in late May that it had selected GE to power the twin-engine KFX with its F414-GE-400, which powers the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. GE was selected ahead of its European rival Eurojet, which had offered the EJ200, the powerplant of the Eurofighter Typhoon. The value of the engine contract has not been disclosed.

DAPA said the decision on the KFX powerplant was taken in collaboration with the RoKAF; Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the prime contractor on the USD15 billion KFX development project; and Hanwha Techwin, South Korea’s main aero-engine producer, which is expected to partner GE on the F414 programme. DAPA hopes to finalise negotiations with GE on the purchase of the engine as well as the defence offset package in the next few months.

The GE spokesman said this offset package would reflect the company’s intention to “put the utmost effort into localisation to help the indigenous Korean industry grow”. He said the proposed offset package features a plan to transfer manufacturing technology as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul capability.

He added, “GE is committed to support Hanwha Techwin, KAI, and RoKAF by providing engine localisation options that meet or exceed the request for proposal requirements in excess of 50% for both the EMD [engineering and manufacturing development] and production phases [of the KFX programme].”


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