By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea will purchase four CN235-110 aircraft from Indonesia by 2011 in efforts to strengthen its maritime patrol operations to deter Chinese vessels' illegal fishing activities and protect the islets of Dokdo in the East Sea, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Tuesday.
The agency signed a contract Monday with Indonesia's PT Digantara Indonesia (PT DI), which beat out four other competitors.
The per-unit price is about $23 million, DAPA officials said.
The Korea Coast Guard commissioned the procurement program with DAPA early this year. The coast guard, which now has 15 helicopters but only one patrol plane, will use the Indonesian aircraft in conducting maritime surveillance, search-and-rescue operations, anti-terror missions and other functions, they said.
The CN-235 is a medium-range twin-turbo-prop airplane, jointly developed by Indonesia and Spain, and is widely used by a number of foreign operators for maritime patrol, surveillance and troop transport.
The CN235-110 version, equipped with advanced radar detection and thermal imaging systems, has a cruising radius of 1,100 nautical miles and can carry more than eight people.
The aircraft can simultaneously detect more than 100 targets 200 nautical miles away and operate day and night.