S.Korea, Indonesia to develop 4.5 gen fighter aircraft KFX

Bonza

Super Moderator
Staff member
Why should they buy new F-16 when they get slightly used for free? Anyway I believe they need to pay for the upgrade. And they definitely need to pay for the operating costs, which in the long run constitutes the main costs of having fighter aircraft.

In any case; if you insist that they cannot afford new F-16 then does that mean that you

a) believe they cannot afford to join the development of a new "4.5 gen fighter", or

b) believe that the new fighter will be much cheaper than a new F-16, since you have already established that they cannot afford new F-16.


Careful or I report you to the Moderators... :D

Indonesia's (nominal) GDP currently ranks number 16 in the world; however more importantly there is significant growth.



Indonesia's economic growth likely to remain strong in 2013 - Globaltimes.cn
Come on, do you really believe what you're doing here isn't completely obvious? First going on about "L-M propaganda" in a thread that has bugger-all to do with the F-35, now trying to twist people's words by deliberately offering them limited definitions weighted towards your own arguments? Cut it out immediately, and if you do anything to the contrary you're going on holiday. I hope I have been plain enough.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@ADMk2, on Indonesian AF it's been discussed that the current 24 ex USAF F-16 block 25 deal plus the upgrade of 10 existing block 15 OCU is a trade off between getting 34 fully upgrade older F-16 or 8-12 new block 52.

This is actually the choice that being offered by US to Indonesian administrations. Getting new F-16 or older but fully upgrade F-16 but with more than twice in term of quantity. Indonesia AF than choose quantity over newer airframes (quality).

Is it make sense. Well it is debatable. However their perspective is those F-16 used as stop gap until KFX or something else can be procured by 2020+. For that they seems believe more on quantity over quality.

In other word, they seems think more on getting more sq wirh older airframes rarher than fewer sq but newer airframes.
I think it's a very sensible deal. TNI-AU is effectively getting a relatively similar capability to Iraq, the difference being Indonesia is spending $750m on it's capability of 34 fighters.

Iraq is spending $6.4Billion to get 36 fighters...

I'm not doubting the future potential of Indonesia's economy but the funding likely available. If the funds aren't there, they aren't there, the reasons behind that aren't important, when discussing whether or not they could afford capability X.

When I said earlier they couldn't afford JSF I meant it. They can't afford a new fleet of F-16's either. That's not meant to be insulting it's simply the truth at the current time.

The cost of JSF is far more than the actual airplanes themselves, just as it is with F-16. Not much point buying an F-16 without a targetting pod. Or a weapons inventory, weapons magazine, electronic warfare gear and so on. Or a simulator, or hangars, tooling, manuals, support equipment, infrastructure for all of that. The list of things beyond the aircraft are almost endless.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
When I said earlier they couldn't afford JSF I meant it. They can't afford a new fleet of F-16's either. That's not meant to be insulting it's simply the truth at the current time.

The cost of JSF is far more than the actual airplanes themselves, just as it is with F-16. Not much point buying an F-16 without a targetting pod. Or a weapons inventory, weapons magazine, electronic warfare gear and so on. Or a simulator, or hangars, tooling, manuals, support equipment, infrastructure for all of that. The list of things beyond the aircraft are almost endless.
Agree, what many people in here did not realize is Block 52 basically different plane then Block 15 OCU ( the existing fleet). That's why TNI AU choose upgrade block 25, since it shares much simmilarity with block 15 OCU. Getting block 52 from what I heard from TNI AU people, means they have to grounded block 15 OCU, since TNI AU has to prepared two set of different support infrastucture. While with block 25, existing support for block 15 OCU still can be used.

With upgrading the airframes and electronics of block 15 OCU and block 25, they can still operated F-16 fleet 'close' to block 52 capabilities whille have advantage of more quantity. This is some argument that hard to sell to many critics in here because they already fixiated on having block 52.

Just like arguments that criticise decisions on only having one sq of flankers. For one thing many simply did not make into account that most of TNI-AU support infrastucture was and is build for US made assets. Having Russian one means they have to set different support infrastucture, which made operating more than one sq of flankers simply unaffordable on present budget.

Too many local critics simply only look to price of airframes, and not anything else. That's why the prsent Administrations quite anthustiast with KFX, simply they hoping to to get into a program that have possibility in standardising much of TNI-AU in future on one affordable but quite update in terms of technology.

LM people already approach our Mindef on possible Indonesia join JSF after 2020, but from what I heard, under current costs model (thats mean the airframes and supporting infrastuctures), its too uneconomical for Indonesia even after 2020, the economy growth as projected.

Many simply in here did not realise even now the defense budget already close to USD 10 bio, we spend more that 3 times on that only for fuel and energy subsidy. In such even after 2020 unless some turn around on security environment around SEA, its difficult for me that have banking/finance background see our defense budget top more than 1%-1.5% of GDP.

With that kind of proportions budget to GDP, even the GDP in 2020 got more than USD 2.5 trillion as projected (from current USD 1 trillion), that only a budget of USD 20-30 bio for wholle Armed Forces. Spending half on that just so the Airforce can field a fleet of JSF, simply in my mind can't be happening.

That's why, possibility of TNI-AU field Russian T-50 (or whatever they call it by then) more probable that JSF. This also in assumptions that the cost structures that Rosoboron advertise when they talked with Mindef in here still valid. This is with assumption that after 2020, TNI-AU need new set of Fighters, thus building new set of supporting infrastucture can be considered viable.

Off course this with assumption that KFX/IFX did not developed as plan, since if the project turn out as plan, politically Indonesia will focus on that as the main fleet of its AF.
 

koxinga

New Member
That's why, possibility of TNI-AU field Russian T-50 (or whatever they call it by then) more probable that JSF. This also in assumptions that the cost structures that Rosoboron advertise when they talked with Mindef in here still valid. This is with assumption that after 2020, TNI-AU need new set of Fighters, thus building new set of supporting infrastucture can be considered viable.
.
A long shot but would the J-31 fit the bill? To be honest, Indonesia represents the ideal customer for the J-31, being of the level of sophistication and with sufficient budget to procure it. I am assuming that the price point of the J-31 would be comparable to a late model F15/SU35 because otherwise, it would not makes much economic sense.
 

colay

New Member
I wouldn't be surprised if the T-50 actually turns out to cost substantially more than a F-35. If reports are accurate, cost pressures have resulted in India cutting it's order of PAK FA/FGFA jets to 144 units and have budgeted $30 Billion for the acquisition.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
After 2020, I believe it's still open game. Anything possible. We don't know whether T-50 cost drivers will turn out more costly than JSF or still more economical as Rosoboron advertised. Chinese J-31 still open on speculations. China did make unofficial approach to our Mindef for J-10B. However as I've mentioned, the mood now is getting sufficient stop gap effort (upgrade F-16 and additional upgrade airframes, While also conducting upgrade to existing F-5 and Hawk 200), and maintain capabilities on tech development in term of at least one sq of Flankers.

After 2020, that's I believe the different agenda begin to kick in. All the stop gap effort mentioned above will begin need replacement. That's mean potentially replacement for at least 5 sq (2 F-16, 2 Hawk 200, and 1 F-5). Mindef (at least on this present Admin) want to replace them all with one platform. That's where the KFX/IFX come to equation.

Officialy the program need USD 10 bio budget. What many in here still not realise those budget only for 3 phases of development stages; Tech Devlp (1st phase), Enginering Phase, and the last Joint Manufacturing phase. In short USD 10 bio is only until until prototype. Means to get First batch of KFX/IFX, Indonesia need more budget than just USD 2 bio being circulated in media.

That's why personally I believe the main reasons for this project being postponed after completion of first stage. ROK & Indonesia need to sink in and calculated the political support needed for continuation the project. ROK know that 2014, the two terms of present Indonesian Administrations run out, new different administrations will come out in 2014, and ROK need to know if next admin will still politically back up the project. The next two stages is where most of the budget needed, and since Indonesia is still the only other Partner in the program, ROK need to know whether after 2014 they still got Partner or not, and in my oppinion have to see their own political support for continuations on the project.

That's why I believe if KFX/IFX can move on as plan, then means the program got solid political support from both ROK and Indonesia. In such, for Indonesia, all the stop gap measures will then being replaced by KFX/IFX. However if not, then all potential candidate in the market can be come to equations for replacing all those stop gaps after 2020.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I wouldn't be surprised if the T-50 actually turns out to cost substantially more than a F-35. If reports are accurate, cost pressures have resulted in India cutting it's order of PAK FA/FGFA jets to 144 units and have budgeted $30 Billion for the acquisition.
Well, whatever it's qualities, it's not going to have the user base the F-35 will enjoy, nor the production efficiencies over time that the F-35 will either.

OTOH it will be manufactured in places where the build cost is usually lower, so...

:daz
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
After 2020, I believe it's still open game. Anything possible. We don't know whether T-50 cost drivers will turn out more costly than JSF or still more economical as Rosoboron advertised. Chinese J-31 still open on speculations. China did make unofficial approach to our Mindef for J-10B. However as I've mentioned, the mood now is getting sufficient stop gap effort (upgrade F-16 and additional upgrade airframes, While also conducting upgrade to existing F-5 and Hawk 200), and maintain capabilities on tech development in term of at least one sq of Flankers.

After 2020, that's I believe the different agenda begin to kick in. All the stop gap effort mentioned above will begin need replacement. That's mean potentially replacement for at least 5 sq (2 F-16, 2 Hawk 200, and 1 F-5). Mindef (at least on this present Admin) want to replace them all with one platform. That's where the KFX/IFX come to equation.
The F-5 and Hawk 200 upgrades are the bit I don't get. Surely the US would be willing to provide further Block 25 airframes, for a guaranteed upgrade, logistics and weapons purchase? Part of the reasoning for the intial Block 25 F-16 acquisition, is because of the difficulty in supporting the F-5 nowadays?

The Flanker and Super Tucano acquisition gives you diversity in platform types, relatively free of political interference (and surely the Hawk and F-5 are just as vulnerable to political interference as the F-16 anyway?) So why wouldn't TNI-AU look to maximise capability and numbers across the fleet?

Sure 48-64 or so upgraded F-16's would provide a better overall capability than the 34 upgraded F-16's, plus upgraded Hawk 200 and F-5's?

It might even save some money to put towards weapons packages or further Flanker acquisitions (which I believe is still Indonesia's plan?)
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
The F-5 and Hawk 200 upgrades are the bit I don't get. Surely the US would be willing to provide further Block 25 airframes, for a guaranteed upgrade, logistics and weapons purchase? Part of the reasoning for the intial Block 25 F-16 acquisition, is because of the difficulty in supporting the F-5 nowadays?
The upgrade program for F-5 also a surprise for me. However seems one of 'sweetener' on TA-50 deal is some surplus F-5 and spare parts. This hoped will improved the readiness of F-5 sq which from whatnI gather only have 2-4 fighters operational.

Hawk 200 seems only will have limited upgrade (mostly related to the airframes and avionics), and make sense since most of the airframes come from mid 90's. Mindef have told Media they are studying possibilities for additional F-16 upgrade airframes, however with 2014 already in the corner, they won't make any more decisions, and will let future administrations to do it.

In short with only stop gap in mind, thus at most another 10 years in the scope, those upgrade packages still considered acceptable. The F-5 was plan to be retired, however with additional surplus F-5 from ROKAF plus support packages, Mindef seems to think keeping those F-5 for another few years on until 2020 still acceptable.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Hawk 200 airframes are relatively new, as said, & the operating cost is very low compared to F-16. Therefore, updating the avionics & keeping them flying makes perfect sense. They're perfectly good for light attack & sovereignty patrol. & will remain so for many years, if looked after.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Hawk 200 airframes are relatively new, as said, & the operating cost is very low compared to F-16. Therefore, updating the avionics & keeping them flying makes perfect sense. They're perfectly good for light attack & sovereignty patrol. & will remain so for many years, if looked after.
In isolation I agree updating makes sense, however the perspective that any TNI-AU Hawk upgrade must be considered in, is that operating cost no matter how low, comes on top of KT-1, Super Tucano, Hawk 53 (transitioning to T/A-50), Hawk 109, F-5, F-16, SU-27 and SU-30...

I would think that a strong case could be made for if not F-16, than T/A-50 to replace ALL the Hawk and F-5 variants at the very least.

Cost effectiveness does not spring to mind when one looks at that inventory in it's current state...
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
Cost effectiveness does not spring to mind when one looks at that inventory in it's current state...
Yes, it's not the best solutions, but has to begin somewhere. Afterall this is a stop gap measure. Personally I don't think keeping the F-5 is worthwhile, and many critics in here also questioned them. The initial plan is for F-5 to be replaced by F-16, which why the Mindef looking for possibility on getting more F-16 airframes. However with additional free F-5 ex ROKAF plus support packages, seems some of brass in Mindef think its more efficient for at least up to 2020 to keep the F-5 running.

I don't think this will be the end. Potential of F-5 still being replace by additional F-16 still there. We'll see how this developed. Those plan ex ROKAF F-5 has not come yet. Supposed will be deliveted after TA-50 delivered. For me it's not a done deal yet, thus potential other measures for sq 14 (F-5 sq), still open.
 

Vegan-Zombie

New Member
However with additional free F-5 ex ROKAF plus support packages, seems some of brass in Mindef think its more efficient for at least up to 2020 to keep the F-5 running.
The ex-ROKAF F-5's were rejected on the grounds that ours had been upgraded and theirs had been in the standard F-5 configuration all this time... :p

Seeing as the FX-III candidates are offering ToT contracts for the KF-X if their respective designs would be chosen, I'd say the KF-X is becoming more and more of a reality, rather than a "design study". One thing surprised me though...

Lockheed Martin ready to commit to help KFX project

LM is offering design support if the F-35 is chosen, even a ToT contract (pending FMS clearence). So now, KAI have Boeing, Saab, Eurofighter, and LM offering technical support, ToT, and investments.... Tis' a good day....
 

anan

Member
Everyone should read this article about the ROKAF:
http://thediplomat.com/2013/07/19/south-koreas-f-x-project-and-structural-disarmament/3/

Major cost overruns for FX phase 3 threaten the continuation of the KF-X project:

"Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) still needed another 60 next-generation fighters. Thus, the F-X Phase 3 (F-X III) project was launched, with the aim of procuring those 60 additional air fighters to supersede the aging F-4 and F-5 fleet. The plan is to introduce them between 2017 and 2021 at a cost of 8.3 trillion won ($7.3 billion)." Or at a cost of only $122 million a fighter. Including life cycle costs this is completely impractical.

My own view is that South Korea should reduce the size of F-X Phase 3 (F-X III) to 40 aircraft to keep within budget.

South Korea's defense budget is about $37 billion a year of which $10 billion is for procurement. ROKA spends about $5 billion on procurement. Navy another $2.5 billion per year. Limiting the Air Force to $2.5 billion in procurement.

ROKA procurement is on a tear to deal with the North Korean threat. Plus tens of billions are being spent on assuming war time command.

Finally life cycle costs for gen 5 and gen 4.75 aircraft with stealth capabilities are extremely high relative to initial procurement costs:

"ROKAF is already starting to struggle with the heavy maintenance costs of cutting-edge air fighters. According to a Korea Times report which cited a senior air force official (speaking on the condition of anonymity), maintenance costs for the F-15K rose 10-fold, from 9.7 billion won ($8.5 million) in 2008 to 95.82 billion won ($85 million) in 2011, about the price of a new F-15K. This is natural given that the ROKAF itself only repairs 60 avionics parts. Yet the maintenance costs associated with the potential F-X III partners will be even higher.

According to a parliamentary reply by Peter Luff dated September 14, 2010, the Royal Air Force (RAF) calculated that the cost per flight hour of operating the Tornado GR4 was £35,000, the Harrier GR9 £37,000 and the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 £70,000, while the German Defense Ministry estimated last year that a one-hour flight in a Eurofighter would cost €76,000.

Maintenance for the F-35 would be similarly expensive. The international auditing firm KPMG estimated that the full life-cycle cost of the F-35s in Canada’s Next Generation Fighter Capability project would be $44.8 billion. This estimate covers the period beginning in 2010, with the government’s announcement of its intention to acquire the F35, and ends 42 years later with the disposal of the last aircraft in 2052. The report also estimated that $35.9 billion would be spent on future maintenance, which excludes development and acquisition cost."

This issue is complicated by the fact that South Korea is considering technology transfer as part of the FX phase 3 procurement.

For example if South Korea chooses to buy 60 Eurofighters, part of the deal will likely include technology transfer for KF-X.

Here are some questions for everyone:

Will South Korea get technology transfer for KF-X if it buys F-15K silent eagles? Will South Korea get tech transfer for KF-X if it buys F-35s?
How much money will South Korea save by skew rationalization if South Korea buys additional F-15K silent eagles (since South Korea already has F-15K silent eagles, maintenance costs are likely to be lower)?

My view is that South Korea has to either purchase the Euro-fighter if it gets sufficient tech transfer for KF-X or F-15 X silent eagles, albeit for only 40 models, if South Korea does not get sufficient tech transfer.

Does South Korea even have the option of buying 40 F-35s? Imagine the cost of maintaining the existing F-15Ks and 40 F-35s would be substantially greater than the cost of maintaining existing F-15Ks and 40 new F-25Ks.

The reason South Korea wants a high end aircraft is for deep penetration of North Korean airspace to near the Chinese border. Which of these three models has the largest range in the configurations South Korea might consider?
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
This KFX/IFX project has relative limited budget to begin with (USD 10 Bio), but with ambitious target for 4.5 gen aircraft that plan to replace all F-5 and most F-4 in ROKAF in ventory, while for Indonesia thus project will become the 'jack of all trade' that aim replacing F-5, Hawk 100/200, and eventually all F-16 (including the refurbished ex USAF) after 2020.

Such a tall ambitions, that ROK definetely want to used FX program as launching pad on getting some tech transfer that can be used for KFX. With potential population of more than 250 from both ROKAF (200+), and TNI-AU (50+), and relative limited budget to develop (for gen 4+ fighter) I do believe in the end KFX will be smaller than the current design that being circulated.

With the condition above, as I have put on my old posts (forgot on which thread), the KFX in the end will turn out as slightly larger and more refined FA-50. Talking with some Mindef guys in here, that potential also speculated can be happening.

The reasons simply, the current twin engine design that being circulated potentially will need more than USD 10 Bio to developed, whille twin engine design proved less economical to maintain, if what you're looking for is replacement for F-5 and Hawk 200. Some info from DI/IAe also talk that they actualy with KAI already prepared singgle engine design based on FA-50 with F-414 or simmilar class engine, and some refinement on Airframe and much updated electronics. In short if some connotations can be put, is like progression from Legacy Hornet to SHornet.

In the end, is still all open to speculation. What's true is, so far whoever being chosen on FX, will need to put in the deal package the technology support for KFX. Thus any delayment on FX will certainly delay progress on KFX.
 

anan

Member
Just add, the concept of single engine FA-50 based KFX that I have mentioned on previous post, being introduced by KAI.

KAI Publishes Small KF-X Concept
Thanks Ananda. Do you have any thoughts about Slowman's comment:

"The KFX-E was sort of an internal "worst-case" scenario study for KAI in 2012, a situation in which KAI would be forced to "go-alone" due to political/funding circumstances, in which case the easiest route to take would be to modify what they were familiar with, the F/A-50. Such would be the case of an F-35 win, because Lockheed Martin was very much opposed to the KFX program and high F-35 prices would drain funding away from the KFX program.

This option is NOT ON THE TABLE at the movement and the plan is still for a twin-engine jet and has the ROKAF and parliamentary backing. Boeing is the likely KFX engineering partner because Boeing's Silent Eagle is expected to win the F-X III bidding after the government decided to resume the suspended price bidding based on vendor inputs. According to the DAPA's bidding rule clarification, they would only put bids on budget on yes/no votes at the selection committee and not even bother with bids over the budget.

Boeing is said to be merely $230 million above the budget at the last bidding and has gone to the press to claim that they could close this gap if the bidding was to resume, while the USAF(F-35)'s non-negotiable FMS price was $1.5 billion over budget and was virtually disqualified under the DAPA's selection guidance. As for the Eurofighter Consortium, the exact pricing was not known but the people in knowledge was complaining of a very high price, leaving Boeing as the sole vendor with a possibility of hitting the budget."

KAI Publishes Small KF-X Concept

Is Boeing offering the most technology transfer for KF-X? A "relatively" stealthy dual engine KF-X?

If so, then South Korea might be best off with buying 60 upgraded F15 K silent eagles and technology transfer for KF-X. To save on short and intermediate term cost, the South Koreans can delay most F15 K procurement well into the 2020s.

Here is a question however. South Korea wants these phase three FX fighters to have long range power projection capabilities. Certainly longer range than KF-X is likely to offer. Which model, F-15K Silent Eagles, F-35s or Eurofighter offers the longest range?

Tech transfer from which of these three options (Boeing, LMT or Eurofighter) is likely to give KF-X the longest range.

Range appears to be an important criteria for ROKAF. Partly because FX phase 3 and KF-X are partially designed with China in mind.

What are Indonesia's preferences in terms of which tech transfer they prefer (between Boeing, LMT and Eurofighter)?
 
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Ananda

Well-Known Member
Let me put this way:

1. Indonesia will have small or no weight on who's going to be the tech partner on KFX/IFX program, since as Junior Partner, it already left the decision on that matter with ROK, as Senior Partner.

2. Who's the winner for FX III (thus potential tech partner for KFX) has not been decided. Boeing being expected mostly because the cost of logistics and maintenance for existing ROKAF F-15K and F-15SE being offered is expected for ROKAF more economical, relative to Eurotyphoon or F-35. I'm not following much on FX III, but from what I gather, that's one of main advantage for Boeing compared to other bidder.

3. Yes, the input from both Air Force (ROKAF & TNI-AU), indicated that the twin engine design is more preferable due to larger combat radius range, as one big factor.However the single engine design also still being prepared by KAI team due to:
a. Both KAI and IAe team from what I gather, show some doubt whether they can realistically developed the more stealthly twin engine design within the USD 10 bio budget, even using 'off the shelf' technology.
b. The twin engine design require more risk for both manufacture, since it's a design that neither any of them have experienced with. Thus even with proven off the shelf technology, developing the design can provide more trials and potentially will increase the budget.
c. The single engine design also have benefit on more economical to maintain, thus more realistically can replace F-5 and Hawk 200 in one on one basis. Also it's calculated more attractive to export market, which for both manufacture, is one of the big influential factor.

In short (mind you this is my personal opinion), whatever the input on the AF on the design, the final decision will be decided on which design that realistically can be developed within the budget being allocated. For me I still suspected the smaller single engine design that now already being shown, is more and more considered to be more realistically design for the project.

Both AF from what I gathered prefered the twin engine design, since it's more suited for their tactical consideration. However from what I heard they also admitted that quantitive wise, they will faced economical challenges to operate the twin engine design in the number they are hoping.

In the end, money will talked on which design going to be choose.
 

cottontree

New Member
At the moment 'no'. However if the economy growth as it is, after 2020, there will be enough budget to do that. LM already hinted Indonesia is one of potential JSF users after 2020, simply because they see the potential after 2020.

Personally, I see Russian T-50 have more prospect being procured by Indonesia then JSF. However like ROK, the bulk of the fleet after 2020+ will consists on KFX/IFX program, 'if' the program goes as plan.

LM told any potential JSF customers (which basically they aimed on existing F-16 users), that by 2020+ the procurement cost of F-35 will be relatively in 'fixed index price' similar with current F-16 block 52.

In other word LM seems incline that eventhough in dollar term it will be much higher than current F-16 block 50+, however by 2020+ the procurement costs will be as affordable with current procurement costs of F-16 block 50+.
I think Indonesia should get PAK FA instead of F35 considering the price.

If Im not wrong F35 cost about $180m each while PAK FA is about $60m?

I would rather get 3 PAK FA over 1 F35 isnt it?

BTW I dont think Indonesia should wait for IFX, too much uncertainty. They need to upgrade the airforce now.

From a history review, A $60m fighter will cost $80-$100m in less that 5 yrs due to inflation. I dont think Indonesia should wait for the upgrade.
 
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