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Korean Air to bid for military aircraft development project

July 1, 2021 - 15:49 By Yim Hyun-su
The new Baekdu reconnaissance aircraft (Korean Air)
Korean Air said on Thursday its aerospace division plans to bid to be the main contractor on South Korea’s new spy plane development project.

The move comes as the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration has decided to launch a second project to replace four older Baekdu reconnaissance aircrafts with the newly configured Baekdu aircraft. The project, set to run from 2022 to 2026, is expected to cost around 870 billion won ($768.1 million).

The Baekdu aircraft is a key surveillance force of the Air Force and is named after Mt. Baekdu in North Korea as its coverage reaches the mountain.

Some 400 billion won was invested in the first Baekdu development project which spanned seven years, between 2011 to 2018.

During the first project, Korean Air carried out some of the key tasks including aircraft modification, integrated logistics support, airworthiness certification and test flights. The airline also built the second aircraft by itself after creating the first new Baekdu aircraft with L-3 PID, a US defense company.

“We have accumulated a significant amount of know-how through our participation in the first project that will help us to successfully carry out the second project. We have already signed an aircraft purchase agreement with Dassault Aviation to speed up preparations for the project,” a Korean Air representative said.

In a statement, the airline said it will “continue to work closely with DAPA, and contribute to bolstering national defense capabilities through participating in various military strengthening projects.”