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Indonesia on the Brink of Being Axed from KF-21 ‘Boramae’ Fighter Jet Program

 The main reason for the proposal to "drop" Indonesia from South Korea's KF-21 "Boramae" fighter jet development program is that Jakarta has continuously failed to pay the aircraft's development costs, as agreed upon in the initial agreement between the two countries.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The head of South Korea’s primary defense agency, known as the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), has reportedly proposed that Indonesia be dropped from the development program for the 4.5th generation fighter jet KF-21 “Boramae.”

The main reason for this recommendation is Indonesia’s continuous failure to pay the development costs for the aircraft as agreed upon in the initial agreement.

Recently, DAPA’s chief, Eom Dong-Hwan, traveled to Jakarta, where he is said to have met with Indonesia’s Defense Minister, Prabowo Subianto.

The discussions focused on Indonesia’s failure to meet its financial obligations in the KF-21 aircraft development program.

This meeting between the two parties took place on October 6th.

KF-21 “Boramae”


When asked by international defense media, Janes, DAPA stated that it is attempting to normalize cooperation between the two countries regarding the KF-21 aircraft development issue, with negotiations ongoing.

However, Eom declined to provide detailed comments.

In another statement to a different news portal, the head of DAPA indicated that the cooperation between South Korea and Indonesia has not been going smoothly, despite efforts to continue it.

He mentioned that Indonesia has failed to pay a sum of 991.1 billion Won (US$730 million) for the fighter jet development program.

Speaking to South Korean media a few days ago, Eom stated that there needs to be a thorough discussion about Indonesia’s failure to meet the development costs it was supposed to pay.

 He said, “If we don’t clarify the plan (payment) for the next three years (2023-2025) by the end of this month, we have no choice but to reconsider (Indonesia’s involvement) from the beginning.”

Since joining the development program, Indonesia has only been able to pay a small portion of what it was supposed to contribute according to the initial agreement.


 Indonesia holds a 20 percent stake in the KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jet development program but has failed to make payments since 2017.

Jakarta also intends to acquire a total of 50 of these 4.5th generation fighter jets.

In July, DAPA claimed that Indonesia failed to inform South Korea about a new payment schedule for the KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jet development program.

 In 2010, Indonesia and South Korea signed an agreement to collaborate on the fighter jet development program, with Jakarta supposed to receive the fifth prototype of the KF-21 aircraft.

As a partner in the KF-21 fighter jet development program, Jakarta agreed to pay 20 percnt of the total development cost, estimated at US$6.67 billion (RM26.7 billion).

According to DAPA, the last time Indonesia made a payment for its participation in the KF-21 fighter jet development program was in 2017, approximately five years ago.


 So far, Indonesia is said to have failed to pay $671 million (RM2.7 billion) out of the total $1.3 billion (RM5.3 billion) payment required as a partner in the program, citing financial difficulties as the main reason.

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has developed six KF-21 prototype aircraft, which will undergo 2,200 test flights until 2026 to validate the aircraft’s technical capabilities.

 Launched in 2015, the KF-21 aircraft development program is estimated to cost US$6.67 billion (RM26.7 billion) and aims to replace South Korea’s aging supersonic fighter jets, such as the F-4 Phantom and F-5.

KAI plans to supply 40 KF-21 Block 1 aircraft for air-to-air missions starting in 2026, followed by 80 Block 2 aircraft for air-to-ground missions.

South Korea’s aerospace giant also reportedly aims to begin exporting the KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jets to interested customers starting in 2028. KAI has already identified several potential customers, particularly countries that already use the FA-50/T-50 light fighter jets, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, and Poland.

Given that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) is also set to use the FA-50 Block 20, KAI is targeting it as a potential customer for the 4.5th generation KF-21 fighter jet. — DSA



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