Eurojet offers Korea chance to join consortium
Korea has a chance to join a European military engine consortium for joint manufacturing, development and marketing. The offer is conditional to the country deciding to power its new-generation aircraft with a European engine, according to a key executive from Eurojet Turbo GmbH. Eurojet is a four-nation military aerospace engine consortium involving the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Germany.
The consortium has already secured orders of 1,500 EJ200 engines internationally and expects hundreds more, according to Paul Herrmann, Eurojet’s vice president-sales, as India and other nations are considering buying Eurofighter jets, powered by the EJ200 engine that can produce a maximum thrust of 20,000 pounds with afterburner.
“If I look at Korea, a country which is technologically developed, we can transfer technology that can help you make engines for yourself,” Herrmann said at a joint press briefing in Seoul. “We want to sell not only engines but also relevant technology.”
If South Korea joins the Eurojet consortium, it would not only be involved in Korean engines but also involved in 1,500 engines globally through a lenient technology transfer under a broader industrial partnership, Hermann said.
India is set to procure about 190 fighter jets in the years to come with Eurofighter and France’s Rafale competing for the tender.
South Korea is also scheduled to open the third phase of its F-X fighter acquisition program next year. Eurofighter is a potential candidate for the 9-trillion-won deal, which currently involves American aerospace groups Lockheed Martin with the F-35 Lightening II and Boeing with the F-15 Silent Eagle.
Herrmann hinted his company was interested in joining the KF-X effort aimed at developing an indigenous F-16 class fighter over the next decade. More than 200 aircraft are to be built under the KF-X program.
“What is important for us is to get our engine into an aircraft outside the Eurofighter. There is in Korea a candidate, called KF-X,” said the vice president. “The KF-X is a masterpiece because this is a fully indigenous, very modern aircraft program.”
He continued, “We would offer the (EJ200) engine with at least by 60 percent of technology transfer, which means 60 percent of the engine would be made in Korea and could be made from the first engine.”
South Korea could receive a more lenient technology transfer than from the United States, as the procurement of U.S. weapons systems is “always limited by export licenses,” Herrmann noted.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce, which has about a 40 percent share of the Eurojet consortium, expressed hope that it could have more business opportunities in Korea.
The engine company has developed a solid partnership with Korean customers with over 400 engines in service with Korean airliners, Armed Forces and government agencies.
The company is seeking to provide the LHTEC CTS800 engine for a program designed to build 200 or more light-armed helicopters and supply the Trent 700 for air-to-air refueling tankers. It is also bidding to provide the AE 3007 for Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles and the EJ200 for the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic jet.
In an effort to broaden its global research and development network, Rolls-Royce has operated the University Technology Center (UTC) at Pusan University in the southern port city of Busan since 2008.