Following the discussions between South Korea and Airbus to enhance cooperation for the development advanced aerospace technologies;

Tushar Mangure, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Through the discussions with Airbus Defense and Space, the South Korean government wants to set up a facility for the joint development of critical aviation and space-related technologies. The proposed facility, named Airbus Korea International Technology Center (AKITC), will bring together the leading defense players and contribute to future defense programs. The partnership will be a win-win situation for both entities, where Airbus will benefit from the existing supply-chain structure and South Korea’s expertise in the fields of lithium-ion batteries, semiconductors, software, and other associated areas.

“With the move, Airbus will also strengthen its presence in the growing East and Southeast Asian defense markets. The company can contribute to designing critical technologies and sub-systems for the KF-X program, a next-generation combat aircraft planned to replace the aging F-4 and F-5 aircraft that are in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force. According to GlobalData estimates, South Korea is expected to spend $16.8 billion between 2023 and 2033 on procuring various categories of military fixed-wing aircraft, which can provide lucrative opportunities for leading manufacturers like Airbus.

“Over the last decade, South Korean aerospace and defense companies have successfully developed advanced platforms for both internal and external customers. Locally developed platforms like T-50 advanced jet trainers, the K239 Chunmoo multiple launch rocket system, and the K9 Thunder artillery systems have become some of the most sought-after products and have been successfully exported to several countries worldwide.

“The Defense Reform 2.0 program announced in 2018 has propelled South Korea’s defense manufacturing ecosystem towards developing state-of-the-art platforms and technologies to counter future security threats. Apart from developing the local defense industry, the program also prioritizes defense exports. In addition to policy reforms, the South Korean government also established the Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT) in 2021 for defense technology planning and industry support. These government initiatives, combined with increased cooperation with leading industry players like Airbus, will help South Korea meet its objectives of augmenting its defense and aerospace manufacturing eco-system.”

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