South Korea eyes development of indigenous fighter and attack helicopter

The South Korean government has decided to fund a two-year study into the development of an indigenous KFX fighter and a Korea Attack Helicopter (KAH), according to the nation's Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA).
The defence ministry will spearhead the initiative and later this year is expected to submit cost projections, the DAPA says. Seoul will decide at the end of 2012 whether to proceed with full-scale development of the types, it adds.
If the government gives the go-ahead, the timeframe for completing the KAH light attack helicopter would be 2018, with a KFX fighter to follow in 2021, the DAPA says.
Either Korean Air's aerospace company or Korea Aerospace Industries will develop the KAH, with assistance from a foreign partner. Potential partners include AgustaWestland, Boeing, Eurocopter and Sikorsky.
As for the KFX programme, South Korea will foot 60% of the development costs, the DAPA says, adding that the remainder will come from overseas. Some local news reports have cited the Eurofighter consortium and Boeing as potential partners.
To meet its more immediate needs, South Korea plans to call for bids next year on new fighter aircraft, say reports citing unnamed military sources. Seoul also plans to acquire Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.