By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea has developed five types of indigenous radar-evading stealth materials that will be applicable for its warship and aircraft programs beginning this year, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said Tuesday.
According to the ADD, the homemade stealth technology has satisfied about 70 percent of operational requirements of the country's military.
``The indigenous stealth technology has been proven quite effective,'' Lee Hyo-jong, chief researcher of the ADD, told reporters, adding the development began in 1999 with an investment of some 9.1 billion won ($6 million).
Korea has already deployed destroyers fitted with the stealth functions. Sources say it remains to be seen if the development of the stealth technology would resuscitate the troubled KF-X program to build an indigenous fifth-generation stealth fighter in cooperation with foreign partners.
The ADD wants to go ahead with the program, but most experts at home and abroad view it as economically and technically nonviable.
Operational requirements for the KF-X program have not been unveiled, but informed sources have said the ADD wants to develop a single-seat, twin-engine jet stealthier than either Dassault's Rafale or the Eurofighter Typhoon but not as stealthy as Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightening II.
The agency plans to hold a conference on the development of indigenous weapons technologies March 26 and 27 in Daejeon, ADD officials said.
Key technologies to be unveiled during the conference include ones related to advanced avionics, microwaves and combat robots, they said.