Park attends basic trainer jet rollout ceremony in Peru

By Kim Kwang-tae – Yonhap News

LIMA, April 21 (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye Tuesday attended a rollout ceremony for the first basic trainer jet in Peru, the latest in a series of moves to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the aviation sector.

The jet was assembled at Las Palmas Air Base in cooperation with Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer.

Under a 2012 deal, KAI is helping Peru assemble 15 other turbo-prop trainer jets called the KT-1P for the Peruvian Air Force. Separately, KAI has already built and delivered four trainer jets to Peru.

Park and her Peruvian counterpart, Ollanta Humala, watched the maiden flight of the first basic trainer jet.

The two pilots of the trainer jet received training for six months in South Korea last year. Park gave red scarves to 10 pilots who attended the ceremony.

The move came a day after Park and Humala agreed to cooperate in Peru's advanced trainer jet project, a move that could raise the prospect of a South Korean defense firm winning a lucrative deal.

The move "is designed to further expand mutual cooperation in high-tech aviation technology," Park said Monday in a joint news conference with Humala after their summit in Peru, the second stop on her four-nation swing to South America.

South Korea said bilateral cooperation in the aviation industry could help Seoul and Lima make inroads into the aviation market in South America, currently dominated by Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA.

The comments came as KAI is competing with foreign rivals to win a deal worth about US$1 billion for Peru's next-generation light attack aircraft.

KAI has offered its FA-50 supersonic jets, a light attack variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet that was developed with U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin. It is the most-advanced variant of the T-50 family operated by the South Korean Air Force.

Last year, South Korea signed a US$420 million deal to export 12 FA-50 fighter jets built by KAI to the Philippines under a government-to-government deal.

Separately, Park met the mayor of Lima by visiting the city halll. Later in the day, she left for Chile, the third stop on her trip.


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