The report by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) said that the United States will likely remain the largest overseas market for South Korean defence products for at least the next five years.
According to the KIET, the U.S. is already the single largest buyer of South Korean-made weapons, although Seoul imports far more products than it ships to the North American country.
Seoul may be able to win Washington’s next generation trainer jet program, while orders generated by so-called offset deals could push up overall numbers. The 2018-2022 forecast said that, in particular, South Korea’s T-50A is well placed to secure the Advanced Pilot Training (APT) project that could be worth some 14 trillion won (US$13 billion).
The project aims to replace existing jet trainers like the venerable T-28 Talons with new aircraft. The T-50A is a variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle currently serving in the South Korean Air Force and several other militaries around the world.
KIET said if the jet, built with support from Lockheed Martin, is chosen by the United States it will mark a turning point for South Korea’s aerospace industry.
Besides the supersonic trainer jet, the state-run research institute said Asia’s fourth largest economy may be able to export submarines, naval auxiliary ships, self-propelled artillery pieces and guided weapons.
It then said to fuel exports, the country needs to engage in a 5P-plus-1G market strategy to maximize the chance of local products being sold abroad.
The 5Ps are place, product, price, promotion and politics, and the 1G represents government.
It said to further bolster the country’s export potential, there is a need to strive for economies of scale to lower unit price, as well as for good coordination between the various government ministries that handle diplomacy, defense and industry.
The T-50A is the only offering that meets all APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule at the lowest risk to the customer. Lockheed Martin teams studied clean-sheet alternatives and determined they pose prohibitive risk to APT cost and schedule requirements. The T-50A delivers the performance and capabilities needed to prepare pilots to fly, fight and win with 5th Generation fighter aircraft.
The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries. The accompanying T-50A Ground-Based Training System features innovative technologies that deliver an immersive, synchronized ground-based training platform.