Defense News: T-X Loss Casts Shadow over Lockheed Partner KAI Defense News: T-X Loss Casts Shadow over Lockheed Partner KAI – NTK Network

Defense News: T-X Loss Casts Shadow over Lockheed Partner KAI

The award for 350 aircraft to replace the T-38 trainers was announced this month after a lengthy bid process.

By NTK Staff | 10.09.2018 @8:00am
Defense News: T-X Loss Casts Shadow over Lockheed Partner KAI

After the Department of Defense awarded the major T-X contract to Boeing and Saab over Lockheed Martin and its embattled partner, Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), top industry voices are wondering about the future of KAI. The leading industry outlet, Defense News, said the loss has “slashed hopes for Korea Aerospace Industries to surge as a world-class aircraft maker.”

The award for 350 aircraft to replace the T-38 trainers was announced this month after a lengthy bid process.

The contract featured multiple companies hungry to win the deal, which has grabbed headlines for the Michael Cohen scandal’s connection to KAI. The scandal threw an unorthodox twist into the competition, raising questions about the ethical concerns of working with foreign companies with a history of corruption.

Defense News reports the loss has been a major blow to KAI:

The U.S. Air Force’s latest decision to award a multibillion-dollar trainer jet contract to a Boeing-Saab partnership seems to have slashed hopes for Korea Aerospace Industries to surge as a world-class aircraft maker.

Moreover, the loss in the trainer jet competition has apparently dejected the South Korean defense sector, which believed a massive export of T-50A trainer aircraft would provide a major boost to its arms export drive and help burnish its reputation as a top weapons exporter.

“It’s an upset,” said Ahn Sang-nam, head of the Korea Defense Industry Association’s public affairs office. “We thought KAI’s potential win of the U.S. Air Force trainer contract would give a big momentum for the whole local defense industry.”

Defense News continued:

“The failed trainer bid came on the heels of a KAI-built utility helicopter’s fatal crash in July. The cause of the crash of the Marineon, a military variant of the Surion KUH-1, was found to have been a defective rotor mast imported from France, but KAI’s Surion export drive has halted since the accident, including talks over its export to the Philippines.”

KAI was also plagued by a sordid recent history. Its offices were raided multiple times by prosecutors and investigators, due to its alleged embezzlement and covering up significant flaws in its military chopper.

Previously, Lockheed denied allegations that it had illicitly received business favors from the Park [South Korean] government,” and similar allegations were leveled against KAI. The Korea Times reported that state prosecutors investigated a program involving Lockheed and KAI’s dealings with the Korean government.

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