SINGAPORE — Korea Aerospace Industries has secured another European missile supplier with the signature of a cooperation agreement with German arms manufacturer Diehl Defence that will see the integration of the IRIS-T missile into the FA-50 and KF-21 combat aircraft.

Announced on the eve of the Singapore Airshow, organized here from Feb. 20-23, the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two companies builds on a previous deal inked in 2021.

“The purpose of the agreement is the joint goal to integrate the IRIS-T missile into the FA-50/T-50 and KF-21 Block II aircraft – it confirms the intention of both companies to investigate cooperation potential as previously announced in an earlier agreement during ADEX 2021,” the Diehl press release said.

The pact will also spur the formation of working groups to further market KAI platforms fitted with Diehl missiles as well as the possibility to develop additional weapons for Korea’s aircraft programs.

Last November, KAI scored another European missile supplier, with the signature of a collaboration agreement with MBDA to integrate the company’s Meteor missile into the Korean KF-21 Boromae fighter.

Meanwhile, Diehl executives are looking to tap into the Asian market more broadly, including the naval armaments sector.

For example, the German vendor is looking to sell its MIND76 ammunition to countries in the region, said marketing and sales executive Carsten Becker.

“We brought this one specifically along as most navies in the area operate 76mm guns on their ships,” he told Defense News at the show.

The MIND76 ammunition was initially developed with the help of the French Navy, after Diehl Defence was contracted in 2012 to develop a new 76mm naval ammunition for the forces to use in their Oto Melara Super Rapido L-62 naval guns.

Diehl is promoting the shells as specialized in fighting aerial targets, including drones.

“We are in the process of figuring out which ones and what types more precisely it could be most effective against,” Becker said.

Singapore’s Navy has embarked on a considerable modernization journey to improve its naval vessels and has looked to Germany as a key supplier.

Over the next five years, the city state has planned to activate four Invincible-class submarines built by German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. Also on tap are offshore patrol ships from German shipyard Fassmer at the start of 2028.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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