South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has selected GE Aviation as the preferred bidder to supply F414-GE-400 engines for its next-generation KF-X fighter. DAPA said GE Aviation scored highest in all four main criteria for the contract: technology, costs, localization and management. The GE offering was preferred over the competing Eurojet EJ200.
The multi-role KF-X aircraft will be designed and built by Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI), which partners with Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop the $7.4 billion project. The KF-X aircraft will replace Korea’s F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fleet. The development programme is scheduled to be completed in 2026, including the production of six prototype fighters by 2021.
According to GE, a total of 120 KF-X aircraft are slated for production serving the South Korean and Indonesian armed forces, helping extend planned F414 engine production through 2032.
Variants of the F414 engine have been selected to power the Mk2 version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft in India and the Saab Gripen E aircraft. The F414 was initially developed to power the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. GE is currently pursuing development of the F414 Enhanced Engine variant, which incorporates an increased flow, all-blisk fan, new 6-stage high-pressure compressor and improved turbine capability.