ROK to Select F-X by April, KF-X by Summer

South Korea will determine the winner of its next generation fighter aircraft competition by this summer, said Republic of Korea Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hyungchul Kim. ROKAF will select its newest F-X fighter among the F-35, the Eurofighter, and the F-15SE “Silent Eagle”, said Kim at a March 21 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va. South Korean officials plan to retire their aging F-4 and F-5 fleets and replace them with a future indigenous KF-X fighter aircraft, he announced. “The most important factor for making a final decision [on the F-X program] is how much technical support and transfer will be given to the KF-X program,” he said. The acquisition plan for Korea’s very own fighter aircraft “will be finalized next month and the contract will hopefully … be signed before August,” he said. “We have already completed the search and development phase” for the future KF-X program, “and will soon begin systems development,” he said. Once the systems development plan is confirmed, the KF-X program will launch during the second half of 2014. ROKAF is seeking to build 120 KF-X aircraft.