October 28, 1998 14:43
Hyundai Space and Aircraft Co. and Germany's Daimler Benz Aeurospace (DASA) signed a contract on Monday at the 1998 Seoul Air Show to jointly develop the AT 2000 'Mako' advanced multi-purpose light fighter aircraft. The two companies plan to produce a test model by 2003 and tentatively schedule mass production in 2005. The capabilities of the 'Mako' will be similar to those of the KTX-2 (LTX on international markets) under development by Samsung Aeropspace and Lockheed Martin, and the two aircraft are likely to be in competition with each other.
Samsung's Lee Hae-kyu signed a contract with Bob Elwood representing his American partner in the venture to jointly market the KTX-2 and officially establish a combined team for this. The companies plan to have a prototype by 2002 and to start manufacturing by 2002. Officials from Samsung are expecting worldwide demand to exceed 3,000, although Bob Elwood commented that at the moment there is little demand from the US military, though this could change in the long term. He too said demand for the KX-2 would increase to around 3,000, following initial sale of between 600 to 800.
Hyundai plan to use its relationship with DASA to raise the US$240 million it needs for the project from German banks. The company is to build 20% of the aircraft, but will assemble all plane to be sold in Asia and expects to generate W5 billion in sales.
The 'Mako' project was first discussed at the Singapore Air Show in 1996, but was put on hold because of the financial exchange crisis.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com