Republic of Korea Selects GE F404 To Power KTX-2 Aircraft; Awards $50 Million Development Program
LYNN, Massachusetts - In concluding an intense engine competition begun in 1993, the Air Force of the Republic of Korea has selected the GE F404 augmented turbofan engine to power the new KTX-2 advanced trainer/light combat aircraft.
Designed to be the world's most modern, cost-effective advanced trainer as well as a modern, low-cost fighter for the Republic of Korea and other nations, the KTX-2 is being developed by Samsung Aerospace Industries Ltd., in association with Lockheed Martin Corporation. Production of the KTX-2 is to begin in the year 2005 and continue through 2020.
Studies by Samsung and Lockheed Martin predict worldwide sales of 600 to 800 aircraft.
The engine is a variant of the F404-402, modified to power the single-engine KTX-2 by the incorporation of specific redundant features and a new control system that includes an advanced FADEC (full authority digital electronic control). In the design of the new engine, special emphasis has been placed on commonality with the more than 3600 F404 engines already in service throughout the world.
GE Aircraft Engines has been awarded a full-scale development program, valued at approximately $50 million, calling for delivery of six F404 engines for four KTX-2 flight-test aircraft. Flight testing is scheduled to begin in 2001.
In addition, under the provisions of a lot-1 production agreement, with an estimated engine value of $350 million, GE and Samsung are to co-produce 104 F404 engines to power 94 aircraft, beginning in 2004. The Republic of Korea also has the option of implementing a lot-2 production agreement for an additional 100 aircraft.
F404 engines power: the F/A-18 Hornet attack/fighter aircraft of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the governments of Canada, Australia, Spain, Kuwait, Finland, Switzerland, and Malaysia; the U.S. Air Force F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter; and Sweden's JAS 39 Gripen multi-use aircraft. In addition, the F404 is the powerplant for the Singapore Aerospace A-4S Super Skyhawk and has been selected to power the India Light Combat Aircraft flight test, which is scheduled to begin next year.
"The proven operability and outstanding reliability of the F404, which has compiled more than 6 million flight hours on the F/A-18 alone, were instrumental factors in the selection of the engine for this significant new international application," said George Bolln, general manager of the F404/F414 Project of GE Aircraft Engines. "We are extremely pleased to be a part of this world-class program."