WASHINGTON — Cobham has landed a contract to design and produce the oxygen system for South Korea’s future fighter, the KF-X manufactured by Korean Aerospace Industries, the company announced Tuesday.
Under a multiyear agreement that covers the development phase of the aircraft, Cobham will develop an onboard oxygen generating system for KF-X. That system will include technologies including the company’s Next Generation Oxygen Concentrator — which creates breathable oxygen from engine bleed air—and its Electronic Seat Mounted Regulator that allows pilots to control the flow of oxygen.
The system will meet or exceed South Korea’s requirements, but will also be able to be upgraded in the future with emerging technologies like pilot breathing sensors, the company said in a news release.
“Cobham has a long history of working with KAI on a number of aircraft platforms. We are very excited that KAI selected Cobham’s latest oxygen concentrator solution for its newest platform,” Kevin McKeown, vice president and general manager of Cobham Mission Systems, said in a statement.
“The KF-X program is strategically important for Cobham and this contract award will allow us to continue to lead the market in life support oxygen systems for military aircraft.”
South Korea is developing the KF-X in partnership with Indonesia, which has agreed to fund 20 percent of the development costs of the aircraft. However, Indonesia has fallen behind on the payments and could be forced to drop out of the program.
The South Korean Air Force intends to buy more than 100 KF-X jets once production starts in the mid 2020s.
Cobham has already been selected for three previously awarded KF-X contracts, and will provide missile ejection launchers; communication, navigation and identification conformal antennas; and external fuel tanks and pylons.
Other subcontractors on the KF-X program include United Technologies Corp., which is making the environmental control system, and Martin Baker, which is producing the jet’s Mk18 ejection seat.
Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.