Israel and the fifth-gen KF-X fighter: will there be a drop in exports?
The KF-X is a fifth-generation mid-range fighter designed both for excellence in aerial combat and as an attack fighter
Israeli company Elbit Systems announced on February 6 a contract worth $ 43 million with a South Korean company Hanwha Systems for the supply of equipment for the fifth-generation fighter KF-X.
The necessary equipment must be created and delivered within six years. The new system will enable the fighter to fly and maneuver at low altitudes, in conditions of zero visibility and difficult weather conditions.
Elbit Systems vice president Yoram Shmuely said, “We are proud to be able to improve the work of the Air Force with Hanwha Systems.” The KF-X is a fifth-generation mid-range fighter designed both for excellence in aerial combat and as an attack fighter.
It will be equipped with a powerful radar and armed with Korean-made Meteor long-range air-to-air missiles.
Although Elbit Systems is well known for its sophisticated avionics, integrating Israeli technology into KF-X may limit its export potential. Indonesia is one of the leading fighter purchasers and partners in the program. At the same time, Indonesia has not very good relations with Israel, like other South Asian Muslim countries.
Indonesia may refuse to buy fighter jets with integrated Israeli technology. Iraq, Malaysia and other potential customers can do the same. Iraq and Indonesia used to buy the South Korean FA-50 light fighter.
South Korea plans to buy 200 to 250 KF-X fighters for its Air Force. Fighter exports would significantly reduce the production cost of one fighter. Israel, in turn, relies on US military assistance and does not show interest in acquiring the KF-X despite its capabilities for its Air Force.
Thus, the participation of Israel in the project will significantly reduce the export potential of KF-X. [end]