Korean Air submits sole initial bid for $1.1 billion KAI stake

SEOUL | Fri Aug 31, 2012

(Reuters) – Korean Air Lines Co (003490.KS) was the sole preliminary bidder for an estimated 1.2 trillion won ($1.06 billion) stake in aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries (047810.KS), KAI’s largest shareholder Korea Finance Corp said Friday.

Such an outcome was widely expected, and analysts have said it could nudge shareholders closer to considering a direct stock purchase agreement with Korean Air if no other bidders step forward, or halt the sale altogether.

Shareholders plan to meet to decide whether to hold another round of bidding, Korea Finance Corp said in a statement.

State-run Korea Finance Corp and other shareholders put a 41.75 percent stake in KAI up for sale earlier this year, including management control.

($1 = 1130.4000 Korean won)

(Reporting By Joyce Lee; Editing by Richard Pullin)


BAE Confirms S. Korea F-16 Upgrade Deal

Aug. 6, 2012 – 10:41AM   |

TAIPEI — BAE Systems confirmed Aug. 6 that South Korea has selected the company to perform an upgrade to the avionics and electronics systems for its fleet of 130 KF-16 Block 52 fighters.

South Korea has not yet delivered the Letter of Request for BAE to be the sole source systems integration contractor, but the letter is expected shortly. The work will be contracted through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Sales program.

BAE Systems will perform a range of services, including systems engineering and integration, software and electronics engineering, obsolescence management, and logistics support. The work will be performed primarily at BAE Systems’ facilities in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

“This is a strategic international win for us, significantly expanding our aircraft upgrade and modification business,” said Dave Herr, president of BAE Systems Support Solutions. “We have extensive capabilities that span across BAE Systems, and I am confident that our team offers the best value to the customer.”

“This selection further demonstrates that we are a leading provider of integration, avionics and mission computers for F-16s, and we will continue to offer our capability to customers across the globe,” said Gordon Eldridge, vice president and general manager of Support Solutions’ Aerospace Solutions business area.

The total estimated addressable market for F-16 avionics upgrades is valued at greater than $3 billion internationally, covering more than 3,000 aircraft. BAE Systems supports 270 of the U.S. Air National Guard’s upgraded F-16s and 50 of the Turkish Air Force’s upgraded F-16s.

The company is now focusing on securing the upgrade contract for Taiwan’s 146 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters. BAE will be engaging Lockheed Martin for the contract valued at $3.7 billion.

Lockheed appears to have a strong lead in winning the competition. The company has a long relationship with Taiwan’s state-run Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) and Taiwan’s Air Force. AIDC and Lockheed signed a memorandum of understanding July 11 to form a strategic partnership to facilitate the F-16 upgrade program.

Source: DefenseNews

Les Philippines abandonnent l’idée des Mirage 2000-9 pour son armée de l’air


Manilles abandonnerait l’idée d’acquérir des avions Dassault pour équiper son armée de l’air. Le pays souhaiterait en effet s’équiper de 12 appareils d’interception et d’attaque anti-navire dans les deux ans à venir ainsi que de six autres pour la lutte contre la guérilla.

Selon la récente déclaration de Patrick Velez du Ministère philippin de la défense les fournisseurs potentiels pour les chasseurs seraient la Corée du Sud, l’Italie, le Royaume-Uni et la Russie. Exit donc la France avec ses appareils émiriens voire qatarie un temps évoqué.

Les six autres appareils d’attaque au sol pour remplacer les vénérables OV-10 Broncos pourraient être acquis auprès des États-Unis, de la Corée du Sud ou du Brésil toujours selon le responsable du DND philippin. Exit donc les AMX italiens un temps envisagé.

Un autre contrat pour six appareils d’entrainement et d’attaque au sol est toujours en discussion.

Les Philippines se disputent territorialement les îles Spratleys avec le Vietnam et surtout la Chine. La recrudescence d’activité de la Chine dans la zone fait craindre des tensions de plus en plus fortes du fait d’une mauvaise coordination entre adminisitrations chinoises comme le révèle l’International Crisis Group.

David Campese



South Korea to Begin Spike-NLOS Acquisition

Future SPIKE missiles will be offered with a laser-homing head

7/3/2012 Arie Egozi – israeldefense.com

Despite Seoul’s anger over Israel’s preference for an Italian training aircraft over a South Korean one, South Korea’s military will soon receive the Rafael-produced Spike-NLOS missiles.

South Korea sought to gain portable capability for launching long-ranged missiles, and therefore, chose to install missile launchers on Ford 550 vehicles, which carry protective solutions against small arms and shrapnel designed by Plasan. The Spike-NLOS is the long-range missile of Rafael’s SPIKE missile family. It has a range of 25 km, is extremely precise, and can be equipped with several types of warheads.

Rafael is anticipating additional deals for the export of Spike missiles. A demonstration of the Spike-ER missile was recently held in Israel when it was installed onboard an IAF Cobra helicopter. Representatives of foreign corps attended the demonstration of the missile, which has a range of 8 km. The advanced missile is marketed around the world as a more efficient substitute to the aging Hellfire missile, and it seems that several militaries will replace the US missile with the one produced by Rafael. Thus far, the missile has been installed on Spain’s Tiger helicopters, Italy’s I-129 helicopters, and Romania’s Puma helicopters.

The long-ranged missile can also be installed on helicopters, enabling a launch towards a ground target from a great distance that could be difficult to hit using ground fire.

Rafael’s Spike missiles are presently equipped with day and night homing heads. According to a source in Rafael, the missile will also be offered in the future with a laser homing head that will enable the missile to home in on a laser spot created by a laser marker positioned on the ground or operated from the air.

Russia enters S. Korean tender with 5th-generation fighter

MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti)

Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter has been placed on a short list of a South Korean tender for the delivery of advanced fighter jets, a Russian arms industry think-tank said on Monday.

Korea is seeking to buy 60 fighters with advanced stealth capability from a foreign aircraft maker in the biggest arms-procurement deal ever for the country with an estimated budget of $7.86 billion under a program code-named FX-III.

Russia’s Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade cited South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) as saying that Sukhoi’s fighter would compete with the F-15SE Silent Eagle from Boeing, the F-35 Lightning II from Lockheed Martin and the Eurofighter Typhoon from the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS).

The winner of the tender is expected to be announced in 2012, but the actual deliveries may start four years later.

The Sukhoi T-50 fighter is being developed by the Sukhoi design bureau and built at a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia’s Far East.

The first prototype conducted its maiden flight in January 2010 and has so far carried out over 40 tests. Two more prototypes are at the various stages of testing. The Russian Air Force said it had plans to acquire over 60 T-50 fighters after 2015.

Although T-50 specifications remain classified, reports indicate that the design incorporates the latest fighter jet developments, including advanced stealth capability, supersonic cruising speed, and highly integrated control systems.

The T-50 offered to Seoul is most likely an export version of the aircraft being developed by Sukhoi and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) under a $6-billion joint project.

Experts believe, though, that Sukhoi and EADS have little chance of winning the tender as Korea’s alliance with the United States will be a decisive factor in the race.

S Korea to export T-50 supersonic jets to Indonesia

SEOUL, May 26 (Xinhua) — South Korea has struck a multi- million-dollar deal to export T-50 supersonic trainer jets to Indonesia, state-run aircraft company Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) said Thursday.

The deal to sell 16 supersonic jets worth 400 million U.S. dollars to Indonesia was signed in Jakarta Wednesday, the first time for South Korea to export its T-50 Golden Eagles, jointly produced by the KAI and U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin, officials at the KAI said.

« I believe the cooperative atmosphere currently building up between South Korea and Indonesia in various sectors, including the economic (sector), was fundamental to (winning the contract), » said KAI president Kim Hong-kyung.

The jet maker was named a preferred bidder in April, as Jakarta sought to replace its old Hawk Mk-53 trainer jets.

South Korea has pledged to deliver the 16 jets in 2013, within 18 months after the contract takes effect, Kim added.

Source: news.xinhuanet.com

First New Turkish Tank Prototype Ready

By Forecast Internationalon Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

The Turkish National Tank Manufacturing Program (MITUP) is moving forward with the prototype of Turkey’s first national tank, set to be unveiled on May 10 at [the International Defense Exhibition and Fair, IDEF] in Istanbul.

National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul announced the unveiling on April 30, stating the new tank would be an upgrade compared to those tanks in the inventory of the Turkish armed forces. Turkey currently operates Leopard 1A and 2A models, as well as ex-U.S. Army M60s and ex-West German M48s.

The new Turkish tank – called the « Altay » – has been designed by South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem in tandem with Turkish automobile company, Otokar. In the competition for main foreign subcontractor on the contract, Rotem beat out Germany’s KMW by full technology transfer of its new K-2 Black Panther main battle tank (MBT) design.

The new Altay tank will comprise about 60 percent of the technology used in the South Korean K-2.

The cost of the Atlay project is estimated at $500 million, with four prototypes to be produced and delivered by 2015.

Source: defencetalk.com

First A380 for Korean Air Takes Off for Final Round of Tests

The first A380 for Korean Air took to the skies today for the start of a final phase of flight and ground tests. The tests are being carried out from Airbus’ facilities in Hamburg, where the aircraft has undergone painting and full cabin furnishing.

During the upcoming programme of flights, all cabin systems will be thoroughly tested, including air flow and air conditioning, lighting, galleys, lavatories, seats and in-flight entertainment. In parallel, Airbus will also undertake advanced general performance tests with the aircraft before it flies to Toulouse for preparation for delivery to the airline.

Korean Air will become the sixth operator of the A380 when it begins flying the aircraft in June. The carrier will initially operate the A380 from Seoul to destinations in Asia, followed by non-stop long-haul services to North America and Europe.

Altogether, Korean Air has placed firm orders for 10 A380s.

Korean Air étoffe sa flotte d’A330


Korean Air Lines a passé une commande ferme auprès d’Airbus portant sur cinq A330 supplémentaires, annonce mardi la filiale du groupe européen d’aérospatiale et de défense dans un communiqué.
Avec ce nouveau contrat, le nombre total d’A330 commandés par Korean Air s’élève à 30 exemplaires, dont 23 ont d’ores et déjà été livrés, précise Airbus.
Airbus rappelle qu’il totalise plus de 1.100 commandes fermes d’appareils de la famille A330, dont plus de 750 exemplaires sont actuellement exploités par plus de 90 opérateurs dans le monde entier.


Global Fighter Jets: Asia, The New Centre Of Gravity?

By Richard A. Bitzinger

April 20, 2011

Some of Asia’s aerospace industries are starting work on fifth-generation fighter aircraft. Despite huge technological hurdles, these countries could displace Western Europe as a leading centre of fighter jet development, and possibly one day give the United States some real competition in global markets.

FOR CENTURIES, North America and Europe have dominated the state-of-the-art when it comes to military technology. Nearly all the great breakthroughs in weaponry – from muskets to missiles – have originated there. And perhaps no field of military technology has been more consistently and overwhelmingly the purview of the occidental West than fighter jets.

Since the end of World War II, a handful of countries in the West – basically, the United States, the USSR/Russia, Britain, France, and Sweden – have controlled the global fighter jet industry. Many countries have tried to break into this business: Argentina in the 1950s, Egypt and India in the 1960s, Israel and South Africa in the 1980s; none were particularly successful, and some – such as the Indian HF-24 Marut – were spectacular failures. Even today, perhaps 90 percent of all fighter jets flown by all the world’s air forces are produced by these five countries, or are based on copies of their planes (such as the Chinese J-7 fighter, a virtual clone of the venerable Soviet MiG-21).

This Western dominance could begin to crumble, however, as Asia ramps up several new fighter jet programmes, all of which are intended to come into service over the next 10 to 20 years. Consequently, the centre of gravity in the fighter jet industry could gradually begin to shift from the North Atlantic closer to the Asia – a development that could have particularly grave consequences for Western Europe’s military aerospace sector and could eventually even challenge the US’s predominance in this sector.

Asia’s Fighter Jet Programmes: Who’s Up, Who’s Down?

Combat aircraft development in Asia is a decidedly uneven affair. Southeast Asia, for example, has hardly a player in this sector, despite the vainglorious efforts of B.J. Habibie to turn Indonesia into an aerospace powerhouse, or Singapore Technologies’ success as an aircraft maintenance and upgrade shop. In addition, Taiwan’s indigenous aerospace industry – which developed both an advanced trainer jet (the AT-3) and a frontline fighter (the Ching-kuo) – is for all practical purposes dead in the water, having not produced a new aircraft in over a decade.

Even Japan, Asia’s aerospace leader for decades (and the only country in the region to possess a military aircraft industry before World War II), is in a state of uncertain decline. Its current indigenous fighter jet, the F-2, has been a technological and programmatic dead-end: its all-composite wing is prone to cracks, and it is so outrageously expensive (three times the cost of the F-16 upon which it is based) that procurement was cut from 130 to only 98 planes. When the last F-2 is delivered this year, Japan will have no fighter aircraft in production – and no new programme to replace it.

Rising Centres: China, India, and South Korea

On the other hand, some Asian fighter aircraft producers are obviously on the rise, despite all odds. China startled the world in January with the first flight of its J-20 fighter. Not much is known about this aircraft, which in some ways resembles the US “fifth-generation” F-22, and one should be careful not to read too much into this programme. Nevertheless, the J-20 certainly demonstrates China’s ambitions – and the aggressive steps it is prepared to take – to claw its way up into the vanguard of fighter-jet producers.

India is also attempting to develop a fifth-generation fighter, in collaboration with Russia, based on the Sukhoi PAK FA (T-50) prototype. If this programme is successful, it would constitute a generational leap in India’s fighter jet technology, as well as atoning for its long-delayed and over-budget Tejas fighter.

Finally, South Korea is pressing ahead with not one but two designs for an indigenous fifth-generation “KF-X” fighter – a twin-engine, canard-type fighter, and a single-engine aircraft resembling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Interestingly, both Indonesia and Turkey are keen to partner with Korea in developing and manufacturing one of these fighters.

What About Europe?

All of these fighter jets are intended to fly or even be fielded within a decade. Of course, these countries face tremendous challenges translating these programmes – some which are literally paper aircraft – into actual frontline fighters. India is heavily dependent upon Russian know-how and systems, while it is highly uncertain that South Korea possesses the technological base to indigenously develop a state-of-the-art fighter. If these countries should succeed, however, this would constitute a tectonic shift in the centre of gravity in the global fighter jet industry.

Europe is the most at risk for losing its place to Asia in the global fighter jet hierarchy. Western Europe has basically not developed a new fighter in nearly 30 years. At present there is no money in the European aerospace sector to fund a fifth-generation follow-on to the Eurofighter Typhoon, the French Rafale, or the Swedish Gripen. Moreover, talk about a European UCAV (an unmanned combat aerial vehicle), which could constitute the region’s next-generation fighter programme, remains just that – talk.

Consequently, the future global fighter aircraft business could in time become a US-Asian duopoly. And while the US, with the F-35 JSF, is likely to dominate this sector for the next two decades – especially when it comes to international arms sales – some upstart Asian aircraft producers could eventually give it a real run for its money.

Richard A. Bitzinger is a Senior Fellow with the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Formerly with the RAND Corp. and the Defence Budget Project, he has been writing on aerospace and defence issues for more than 20 years.

Source : Eurasiareview.com