[Editing] KAI expects record year with fighter project

ORIGINAL

South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries grabbed a chance to boost its profile as it was chosen as a preferred bidder for a long-awaited homegrown 8.5 trillion won ($8.3 billion) fighter jet project.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the country’s arms procurement agency, selected Monday the Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, as a preferred bidder for the he Korean Fighter Experimental aircraft project to develop the country’s mid-level jets to replace the aging F-4s and F-5s.

“The KAI will lead the next generation fighter development project successfully based on its technology and experience accumulated with the development of FA-50 and the Surion,” KAI CEO Ha Sung-yong said.

The aircraft maker has developed the nation’s first homegrown trainer jet T-50 “Golden Eagle” and the first Korean-made military helicopter, the Surion.

KAI will jointly develop the so-called KFX program with Lockheed Martin in order to secure technological assistance from the U.S. defense giant.

“(Through the KFX project) We will make utmost efforts to create a new driving force for economic growth and job creation in addition to the air force’s integration,” Ha said.

According to data from KAI, the indigenous warplane project is estimated to create an economic impact of about 90 trillion won with over 300,000 additional jobs in supporting related aerospace industries.

“2015 is likely to be the most profitable year for KAI as it is expected to secure large-scale projects such a light civil helicopter and a light armed helicopter projects,” a Daishin Securities’ analyst Lee Ji-yoon said.

She added that the company will gain “a huge momentum” in the second half.

“It is expected to win some two trillion won-worth projects during the period even after excluding the KFX project,” she said.

Earlier this month, the KAI CEO said his company set a 30 percent growth target for sales this year, to record high of 3 trillion won.

Shares of KAI are up 1.92 percent to 53,000 won as of 2 p.m. The company’s shares soared 56 percent from a year earlier.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration will announce and sign a contract with a final winner of the project by June at the earliest following months of negotiations with KAI.

FINAL

South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries said 2015 was likely to be its most profitable year after it edged closer to winning an 8.6 trillion won ($7.8 billion) home-grown fighter jet project.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the country’s arms procurement agency, said on Monday that KAI was selected as the preferred bidder for the Korean Fighter Experimental aircraft project to develop mid-level jets to replace the military’s aging F-4s and F-5s.

“KAI will lead the next-generation fighter development project successfully based on its technology and experience accumulated with the development of FA-50 and the Surion,” KAI CEO Ha Sung-yong said.

The aircraft-maker developed the nation’s first homegrown trainer jet T-50, the Golden Eagle, and the first Korean-made military helicopter, the Surion.

KAI will jointly develop the so-called KF-X program with Lockheed Martin in order to secure technological assistance from the U.S. defense giant.

“(Through the KF-X project) we will make the utmost effort to create a new driving force for economic growth and job creation in addition to the air force’s integration,” Ha said.

According to data from KAI, the indigenous warplane project is estimated to create an economic impact of about 90 trillion won with over 300,000 additional jobs in supporting related aerospace industries.

“2015 is likely to be the most profitable year for KAI as it is expected to secure large-scale projects such as a light civil helicopter and light armed helicopter projects,” said Daishin Securities analyst Lee Ji-yoon.

She added that the company will gain “huge momentum” in the second half.

“It is expected to win some 2 trillion won worth of projects during the period, even without the KFX project,” she said.

Earlier this month, the KAI CEO said his company set a 30 percent growth target for sales this year, to a record high of 3 trillion won.

Shares of KAI closed up 2.69 percent to 53,400 won. The company’s shares soared 58 percent from a year earlier.

The DAPA will announce and sign a contract with the project’s final winner by June at the earliest following negotiations.

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