Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) South Korea’s largest aircraft manufacturer is pushing to build a new airfield and repair airports in Iraq, the company’s CEO told reporters.
In a meeting with reporters on Friday, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) President Ha Sung-yong said Iraq has proposed building a new airfield in the southern part of the country that can be used by 24 FA-50 light attack fighters.
KAI inked a US$1.1 billion deal with Baghdad in December to deliver the aircraft, an armed variant of the T-50 supersonic trainer, to the Middle East country from 2015 through 2016. Aircraft to be sold to Iraq are called the T-50 IQ and can be armed with the latest air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions, as well as automatic cannons.
“Iraqi authorities suggested the need for a military airbase for the new jets, and although no deal has been signed, KAI expressed a desire to pursue talks on this matter,” the executive said.
The KAI’s chief said that more detailed negotiations on the airfield will be carried out in August.
The aerospace company will likely go into Iraq to build the airfield that may be worth $600-700 million in cooperation with a builder.
“Building the airfield is not hard, although setting up related facilities and systems to control aircraft requires know-how that KAI can share,” the CEO said.
If the airfield project makes headway, KAI may also be able to win repair work on airports across the country that have been damaged in the recent fighting.