Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Peru moves forward with South Korean FA-50 jet purchase

The government of Peru is making progress in negotiations with South Korea and the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the purchase of between 20 and 24 KAI FA-50 light combat aircraft.

Sources from both Peru and South Korea indicate that a letter of intent is expected to be signed in the coming weeks, with a contract anticipated before the end of the year. The deal could reach nearly $780 million.

The proposed acquisition aims to emulate the successful KT-1 trainer program, which saw 20 aircraft sold to the Peruvian Air Force (FAP), with 16 of them assembled locally by SEMAN (Maintenance Service) at the Las Palmas Air Base. Similarly, the majority of the FA-50s would be assembled in Peru, with some components produced locally. These aircraft are intended to replace the Cessna A-37B Dragonfly, previously used by Air Group No. 7 in Piura, and the Aermacchi MB-339, operated by Squadron No. 513 of Air Group No. 51 in Pisco.

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Peru’s decision to pursue the FA-50 comes after rejecting Brazil’s offer of 24 Super Tucano aircraft for $480 million. Although the FA-50 is nearly twice as expensive, its capabilities are also significantly greater. The FA-50 outperformed other competitors, including Italy’s Leonardo M346 and Textron’s Scorpion.

Additionally, the FA-50 acquisition is seen as a step towards joining the KF-21 fifth-generation fighter program. South Korea is interested in Peru’s participation, especially as Indonesia reduces its involvement, affecting the program’s financial stability. The KF-21 would enable Peru to eventually replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29s, of which only nine are currently operational, and its French Mirage 2000s, which have been in service since the 1980s with up to 12 aircraft in use.

While the F-16 is also being considered, with a requirement for 24 units, joining the KF-21 program would represent a significant technological leap and substantially enhance Peru’s aerospace capabilities.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul is a defense reporter who covers the Korean defense industry and all related issues.

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