South Korean efforts to indigenously develop 5th generation fighter jets program dubbed KF-X received a jolt when United states made a U-turn and refused to provide four core technologies of F-35 stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin for their KF-X Project.

As per original agreement and understanding between two governments, South Korea purchased 40 F-35A combat planes and Lockheed Martin in return promised 25 technologies as offset which included active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, infrared search and track (IRST), electronic optics targeting pod (EOTGP) and RF jammer for F-35 to be used in KF-X project which will replace aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s by 2025.

U.S. Department of State refused to grant export licenses on four of the 25 Lockheed Martin technologies promised last year citing country’s technology protection policy.

U.S. Department of State also has been playing spoiled sport in many of the transfer of technology India has been requesting under Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DDTI) program initiated by Indian and US government in defence cooperation.

US flip flops on TOT of Javelin ATGM was a deal breaker which was ultimately grabbed by Israel which got orders for its Spike ATGMS. US State department also denied Moog Inc re-export clearance for actuators which were to be installed on Rustom-2 HALE Class UAV, leading to further delays in its first flight and now DRDO is working on locally developed actuators.

U-turn by the US on Korean KF-X Project not only will delay the project but also lead to higher development cost since many of the technologies promised will have to be sourced or developed in-house, India had requested help in developing jet engine for India’s AMCA Project .

But in previous report prepared by (Read: Halfhearted US falling behind Europeans in Race to supply Engines for AMCA) we had highlighted lackluster approach of United states on supply of uprated GE engines and their technology for local manufacturing .

Defense analyst warn that India has to deal cautiously with United states when it comes to Transfer of Technology (TOT) or supply of key defense equipment to avoid any further delays in ongoing projects in India.