ANKARA — Hong-kyung Kim, president of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), said Oct. 8 that his company would bid on Turkey’s multibillion-dollar light utility helicopter contest.
Major helicopter producers around the world have expressed an interest in this Turkish program, set to begin either later this year or in early 2013.
KAI also is interested in developing a fighter jet, dubbed KF-X, with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Kim said, and he would have discussions with TAI officials. TAI is a member of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter consortium, but Turkey has said that it wants to produce another fighter with a non-U.S. partner after 2020.
Kim said the South Korean company also wants to sell the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainer jet to Turkey.
Kim is in Turkey to mark the conclusion of the two countries’ joint $350 million program to manufacture 40 KT-1T basic trainer planes for the Turkish Air Force.
He said South Korea is considering an effort by TAI and Italy’s AgustaWestland to sell some of their T-129 attack helicopters to South Korea. Boeing and Bell Helicopter Textron also are shortlisted in this program. South Korea is expected to pick a winner before the end of this year.
Finally, KAI and TAI on Oct. 8 signed a cooperation pact under which TAI will produce structural components for KAI Surion utility helicopters. KAI is building 240 Surion helicopters for the South Korean Army, and TAI will build the front fuselages of 110 of the aircraft, worth more than $30 million, Kim said.