ROK’s Forgotten KF-16 Fighter May Soon Become Trash

Article from SBS: [September 8, 2015]

Forgotten KF-16 fighter will soon become ‘trash’

The most important aspect of a battle is distinguishing allies from enemies. Fighters encounter the same issue. Fighters send out unique electric signals to tell apart friend and foe. However, as the development of this Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) system for a majority of the KF-16 fighters, the centerpiece of the Republic of Korea Air Force, is delayed, they risk no longer being deployable from 2020 on.

There are 134 KF-16 fighters in the Republic of Korea Air Force.

Starting in 2014, the Air Force has set aside one trillion eight hundred billion won [1,515,672,000 dollars] to refit around ten fighters each year.

Parts of the fighter to be overhauled include the mission computer, Aegis Combat System, early warning system, tactical data link, and IFF system.

BAE, the multinational defense contractor tasked with the overhaul, has stopped work while demanding an additional eight hundred billion won [673,632,000 dollars].

The United States and other allied countries will adjust their IFF systems from mode 4 to mode 5 in 2020, rendering any unfit KF-16’s untouchable.

Experts say that the KF-16 will lose the function allowing it to distinguish allied and enemy planes at 100 to 200 kilometers away through electric signals.

The Air Force fears that even if the overhaul resumes next year, 80 percent of the 134 KF-16 fighters will not have properly adjusted IFF systems by 2020.

You could remove the IFF update from the overhaul process and complete it separately, but separating out tasks lengthens the amount of time a fighter is left idle, which is also far from ideal.

Without the tactical data link, data cannot be immediately received from the Aegis Combat System or early warning system, another key problem.

Some within the Air Force are advocating to delay the overhaul process and simply focus on updating the IFF system.

Comments from Naver:


Abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and use its money.


So the invisible hand is looking to con us out of eight billion won


This is why the KF-X program must succeed.


Let’s put some effort into developing fighters in the first place…


Remove the useless leadership first. That will be faster.


Corruption in the defense industry should be treated with the death penalty. Do you guys want to lose our country and become servants again?


We paid 10 times the market price for a submarine that can’t dive and used it as a boat! We paid much more than market price for an anti-submarine aircraft that America threw out! What more needs to be said? Look forward to further waste in the future!


Try buying a Eurofighter for that much, they’ll cut the price in half


To put it frankly, we’re at the mercy of America’s will… let’s use the Eurofighter instead, and stop defense industry corruption from eating away at our finances.


I can’t stop cursing. Where is all that money going? This is just like Cambodia and the Philippines.


Let’s make our own. It’s just like with cars, repairing a foreign car is too expensive. Let’s make our own already.


We’re lucky that the North Korean Air Force is falling behind, otherwise they would have gained air supremacy and wreaked havoc.


Well look at that, they do everything they can to get a good price for the fighter, and then request even more money for an upgrade when we renew the contract.


America really sees Korea as a gullible customer, selling an anti-submarine warcraft that was neglected in the desert for twice the price and conning us with this as well. We have to stop buying American fighters for them to learn. Just an ally in words, they really think we’re a pushover.


Use this as an opportunity to let them know that we don’t need to buy American fighters anymore. The Eurofighter is just as good, and it’s still compatible with American equipment. America is part of NATO, after all.

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