EADS pledges full technology transfer
By Lee Tae-hoon
MUNICH/MADRID ― Officials of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS), manufacturer of the Eurofighter Typhoon, say that the European aerospace consortium is willing to offer a full transfer
of its advanced fighter jet development technology, including source codes
, to Korea without pre-conditions.
They also assured that the company will allow Korea to export its own aircraft to be developed with the help of EADS even to the European market, where it has established itself as the largest regional aerospace and defense contractor.
“Our technology for Korea can definitely be used for other markets as we are willing to offer and discuss the matter with the Korean industry to follow that,” Peter Maute, senior vice president of Cassidian Air Systems, a division of EADS, told reporters on Oct. 10 following a tour of the final assembly line in Germany.
EADS is one of the contenders for Korea’s high-end military aircraft acquisition program with a budget of 8.29 trillion won ($7.26 billion) along with Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which have also shown interests in joining KF-X aimed at developing an indigenous F-16 class fighter over the next decade.
“We see benefits in combining the two programs. It is, however, not a condition,” Maute said. “We are absolutely interested in cooperating in all areas with Korea’s Ministry of Defense. We don’t make one depend on another.”
But he noted that technology transfer made in the FX-program, through which Korea plans to introduce 60 foreign fighter jets with stealth capability between 2016 and 2020 will be beneficial to the KF-X program.
Seoul is currently carrying out the final round of a feasibility study for the KF-X program in partnership with Indonesia, which has expressed willingness to buy 50 KF-X jets and shoulder 20 percent of the $5 billion development funding.
“We are willing to offer through FX-technology transfer which can be used for the KF-X indigenous development in substantially reducing the latter’s development cost,” he said.“ In summary, we want to sell the Eurofighter, import the KF-X and cooperate with Korean industry and authorities. We are willing to support Korea to achieve self-reliance.”
Mariano J. Barrena, head of Eurofighter Korea Campaign, said that his company is ready to provide the source codes for the Eurofighter Typhoon so that Korea will have the ability to develop, upgrade and sustain the multi-role aircraft in the future.
“We are open to negotiate and willing to license production in Korea,” he told The Korea Times in Madrid, adding that EADS is even considering making a financial investment in the KF-X program if necessary.
He also stressed that EADS is flexible to renew its earlier proposal to assemble 50 of its 60 deliveries to Korea and allow local manufacturers to produce and supply parts for the last batch of 26 advanced jets.
Officials noted that Korea will be able to reap more benefits in terms of technology transfer if it chooses the Eurofighter over its U.S. rivals in late 2012 _ Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the only fifth generation, stealth aircraft available in the market, and Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle, a semi-stealth fighter under development.
Marco Valerio Bonelli, head of public relations and communications for Eurofighter, said, “We can offer the total sharing of technology, capability and industry process regarding the development of an aircraft without restrictions unlike Americans.”
“There are no black boxes, there are no secrets, and there are no restrictions to the access of technology.”