July 25, 2022 11:08
Korea expects to sign a W3.8 trillion deal to sell 48 FA-50 light combat fighter jets to Poland this week (US$1=W1,313). The improved version of the jet made its debut at the Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K. last week.
This will be the first export of a Korean military aircraft to Europe.
Korea Aerospace Industries said the improved FA-50 "fully meets operational demands of members of NATO and the EU."
The FA-50, a variant of KAI's T-50 supersonic trainer jet, is a light combat fighter armed with munitions and missiles. The improved version designed for export can also carry a midair refueling system, precision-guided munitions and infrared-guided air-to-air missiles. It will eventually be equipped with an AESA radar that is still in development here.
"The FA-50 is a multipurpose fighter jet that has a competitive edge in cost and functions. It also can be upgraded with our own technology," said Shin Jong-woo of the Korea Defense and Security Forum. "Once we roll out another improved version with an AESA radar, it will be the world's top fighter jet of its kind."
The new deal brings Korea's arms exports to Poland to W25 trillion in total. Poland is frantically arming itself for fear of suffering the same fate as Ukraine.
Poland is also buying around 1,000 K2 tanks from Hyundai Rotem worth about W17 trillion, while Hanwha Defense expects to ship about 670 K9 self-propelled guns worth some W4 trillion to the country.
Last year Korea's arms exports hit a record US$7 billion. According to the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Korea's weapons exports increased by a whopping 176.8 percent over the last five years.
The country's share in the global weapons market rose from a paltry one percent during 2012-2016 to 2.8 percent in 2017-2021, making it the world's eighth largest arms exporter. The U.S. topped the list, followed by Russia, France, China, Germany, Italy and the U.K.
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