Home Air South Korea picks KAI to deliver 2nd-gen Baekdu ISR aircraft to ROKAF

South Korea picks KAI to deliver 2nd-gen Baekdu ISR aircraft to ROKAF

ROKAF Baekdu ISR aircraft
Republic of Korea Air Force file photo

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced Monday it was selected as the preferred bidder for the delivery of the second generation of Baekdu intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems.

KAI was also the prime contractor on the first stage of the Baekdu project that saw the company deliver two ISR aircraft for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) based on the Dassault Falcon 2000S airframes.

KAI said it outbid two other contenders to win the spot on the project in September, after being the only bidder in the first round a month before.

The company said it had already signed a memorandum of understanding with France’s Dassault for work on the project at the ADEX exhibition in Seoul this summer. It added that it would also work LIG Nex-1, another South Korean defense major, on the delivery of the aircraft.

The first two Baekdu ISR airframes were delivered between 2011 and 2018, while up to four more units are expected to be delivered between 2022 and 2026. According to a DAPA call for proposals from earlier this year, the project is worth an estimated KRW870 billion (USD770 million).

The new ISR fleet is poised to replace the Hawker 800SIG Peace Pioneer aircraft from the 1990s.

“The project to improve the performance of the Baekdu system is a core project for the development of the domestic aerospace industry, such as strengthening the military’s power as well as accumulating technology and creating jobs,” A KAI official commented.

KAI is also competing for another ROKAF reconnaissance plane project. It is teamed with Raytheon and Bombardier to offer an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) solution for the air force. According to available information, the other team competing for the project includes Northrop Grumman LIG Nex1 and Huneed.