Korea Aerospace Industries Wins $1.1bn Iraq Jet Order
The Government of Iraq and Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd (KAI) announced today in Baghdad the signing of a contract to supply 24 T-50 aircrafts to Iraq, including training for Iraqi Pilots. The total contract value exceeds $1.1 billion.
The signing ceremony was made with KAI's President and CEO, Ha Sung-yong, Defense Acquisition Program Administration's Administrator, Lee Young-geol and the ROKAF Deputy Chief-of-Staff, Kim Hyung-chol as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Following the contract, KAI will be entitled to supply its follow-on supports to the Iraqi Air Force for over two decades. The combined amount of these contracts would reach more than $2 billion.
In April 2011, KAI introduced the T-50-variant aircraft to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during his visit to Korea and set out marketing campaigns for those trainer airplanes.
After July 2011, the company started to enter negotiations with Iraq in earnest. KAI has since fiercely competed with advanced nations in the aviation industry, such as the U.K., Russia and the Czech Republic with the Hawk-128 of BAE, Yak-130 of Yakovlev and L-159 of Aero respectively and others.
“I am much thankful to the Iraqi government to purchase the T-50 aircraft. I think that the T-50 is the most optimal aircraft suitable for Iraqi military operations. We will make our utmost efforts to support Iraqi Air Force and ensure the smooth operation of the T-50,” said Ha Sung-yong, President and CEO of KAI.
“The T-50 is the most suitable type for the next-generation fighter drills so the prospect of exporting T-50 aircrafts is promising. Also, the T-50 can be operated in a flexible manner ranging from an advanced trainer to a low-class fighter jet,” He added.
The Iraqi contract is the company’s second order for the jet. Its first was the $400-million sale of the 16 trainer-jet variants to Indonesia in May 2011.
KAI is also promoting its aircrafts to the Philippines, Chile and Botswana. The Philippines is expected to sign a deal for around 12 T-50s after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and South Korean President Park Geun-hye signed a memorandum of understanding in October.
Developed with technical support from Lockheed Martin Corp., the T-50 is offered in both fighter and trainer versions.
KAI is about to start accepting orders for T-X Program considered the world’s largest aircraft market next year, a KAI statement said.