South Korean Parliament Approves Fighter Jet KF-X Budget

John Kim, Oct. 29, 2015, 9:27 a.m.


A parliamentary subcommittee on Thursday approved a 67-billion-won (US$58.5 million) budget for a controversial fighter jet development program, said a ruling-party lawmaker. The National Assembly's defense subcommittee passed the 2016 budget for the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) development project after hearing a briefing from the Korea Institute for S&T Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP), said Rep. Kim Sung-chan of the ruling Saenuri Party.

The budget is subject to further approval from the defense committee's general meeting and the National Assembly's general meeting. The KF-X program is an 18-trillion-won project that seeks to produce 120 combat jets by 2025, but it has been under fire after the United States' decision in April not to transfer key fighter jet technologies to South Korea was revealed last month.

The U.S. State Department refused to approve the transfer on four out of the 25 technologies, citing International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Controversies surfaced over whether the country can develop the four core technologies -- an active electronically scanned array radar, infrared search and track, electronics optics targeting pod and radio frequency jammer -- by itself.

"After discussing with lawmakers on the subcommittee, we have decided to have faith in the government that the technologies can be developed domestically," Rep. Kim said. The National Assembly's defense committee will hold its general meeting Friday to further discuss the issue.

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