SINGAPORE — United Technologies Corporation will produce the environmental control system as well as several other components for Korea Aerospace Industries’ upcoming KF-X multirole fighter jet, the company announced Feb. 6 at the Singapore Airshow.
Along with the jet’s environmental control system, which includes air conditioning, bleed air control and cabin pressurization, and liquid cooling, it will also manufacture the air turbine starter and flow control valve for the KF-X, the company said in a news release.
“UTC Aerospace Systems is pleased to partner with KAI on the development of the KF-X fighter,” said Tim White, the company’s president of electric, environmental and engine systems. “Our state-of-the-art technology will help maximize the performance of this new aircraft, and we are positioned to offer additional system opportunities to further enhance its competitiveness. We look forward to supporting the KF-X program in the years ahead.”
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. The South Korean Air Force intends to buy more than 100 KF-X jets once production starts in the mid 2020s, while Indonesia is interested in purchasing about 50 aircraft. However, as Defense News previously reported, Indonesia had fallen behind on its payments and might be forced to drop out of the program due to fiscal constraints.
United Technologies has had extensive experience providing parts for KAI jets, most notably the environmental control system and the air turbine starter for KAI’s T-50 training aircraft.
According to UTC, the environmental control system on KF-X will be even smaller, more lightweight, and easier to install and maintain because much of the air conditioning and liquid-cooling components have been consolidated into a single pack, rather than distributed throughout the aircraft.
The air turbine starter for the KF-X will convert “pneumatic power from the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit into mechanical energy to supply the necessary torque to start the engine both on the ground and in the air,” UTC stated. Meanwhile, the flow control valve will modulate airflow and pressure into the air turbine starter.
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.