>Korean daily newspaper, ASIA ECONOMY, reported on January 30 that Korean government delegation visited Saudi Arabia last week in order to suggest the co-development of the fighter aircraft program.
>According to ASIA ECONOMY, Korean delegation consisting of officials from Ministry of National Defense and ADD (Agency for Defense Development) is known to pay courtesy call on Vice Minister Khaled bin Hussein Al-Biyari, as well.
>During the visit, Korea is known to present the Korea's aircraft development program that it has the plan to develop 5th generation, KF-21 Block III, by upgrading KF-21, 4.5TH generation. Korea stressed that, by developing KF-21 Block III, the lead time to develop 6th generation MUM-T(Manned-Unmanned Teaming) can be considerably curtailed.
>120 KF-21 aircraft will be produced through 2032, starting from this year.
>So far Saudi Arabia has not been able to find a country to jointly develop a 6th generation fighter jet. Britain, Italy and Japan signed the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP) agreement last month to jointly develop a sixth-generation fighter jet. GCAP plans to deploy fighter jets with much improved supersonic performance and radar detection capabilities by 2035. Saudi Arabia has expressed its desire to participate in GCAP on several occasions. In July last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and conveyed his intentions. However, Japan is known to have expressed opposition, saying much of the work has been completed and the timetable to complete the project by 2035 is tight. In Europe, France and Spain are already developing the 6th generation fighter ‘Future Combat Aerial System (FCAS)’ under the leadership of Germany. The first test flight is planned to take place in 2029.
What are the market prospects of the joint KSA-ROK 6th gen fighter? And how will it fare against the GCAP?