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South Korea Mulls Indonesia’s KF-21 Budget Cut Proposal

South Korea has announced it is reviewing Indonesia’s proposal to reduce its financial contribution to their joint KF-21 Boramae jet fighter program.

The country’s defense acquisition agency stated the cut may be possible under the condition of providing fewer technology transfers to Jakarta, since the project’s estimated cost is about 500 billion Korean won ($366 million) cheaper than previously expected.

Indonesia has offered to pay $439 million for the program, a decrease from the $1.2 billion originally agreed upon.

Despite missing payment deadlines and manpower retention issues, it has since contributed around $220 million to the project.

Seoul estimates that the first batch of 4.5-generation fighters will enter service by 2026.

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Part of South Korea’s adjustments to the KF-21 program includes cutting the fighter’s first batch of units from 40 down to 20.

The decision was made in March after feasibility concerns required the aircraft to undergo additional air-to-air missile and radar capability tests.

Despite opting for a staggered approach to producing the jets, the country expects to have over 120 KF-21 units by 2032.

The fighters will replace the Republic of Korea Air Force’s F-4 and F-5 fleet, some of which have been in service since 1969.

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