November 25, 2015 09:25
The U.S. is expected to bar the transfer of more technologies that would allow Korea to develop its own fighter jet, according to a source Tuesday.
Washington already barred the transfer of four technologies with a fighter jet from Lockheed Martin that Korea has signed up to buy and that are crucial to the project.
Lockheed Martin "has recently notified Korea that there's a high chance that the U.S. government will oppose the transfer of software to integrate a twin engine into a jet," the military source said.
Seoul and Washington are expected to conduct further negotiations, but if they fail the massive project could be back to square one.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. will approve the transfer of the remaining 21 technologies before the end of November.
Meanwhile, the Korea Development Bank board last week asked Korea Aerospace Industries to change the terms of its contract for the fighter jet project. KDB is the largest shareholder of the KAI.
The bank is worried that next year's government budget for the KF-X project has been cut from W161.8 billion to W67 billion and that the KAI's own development costs will spiral if budget cuts happen every year (US$1=W1,154).
There is speculation that the KDB will block the contract entirely unless there is some guarantee that it can retrieve its investment.
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