Modernisation et renforcement des forces armées sud coréennes.
Phase 3 : remplacement des F4 et F5, candidat : le F15 Silent Eagle.
Comme le F15 a raflé les phases 1 et 2.... Mais le JSF serait un candidat.
Aviation Week :
South Korea is in a race to modernize and strengthen its air force. A marker looming large in that contest is the takeover of operational control (Opcon) of all military forces on the Korean
peninsula by 2012.
Aviation in all its forms will play a major role in determining success in the effort. South Korea is fielding a formidable strike force, but still has far to go in the esoteric fields of reconnaissance, forward air control and airborne intelligence gathering, including cyber/network/information operations.
At the moment, Seoul’s defense ministry is deep in discussions about buying 3,000-lb. payload,
24-plus-hr. endurance Global Hawk
unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to improve surveillance of North Korea’s troops packed into the areas just north of the capital, according to U.S. 7th Air Force officials.
The UAV’s 1-ft.-resolution electro-optical sensor and a new, large-antenna AESA (active, electronically scanned array) radar—operated from above 65,000 ft.—will make it easier to monitor North Korean tunnels. They’re tough targets because they are on the reverse side of mountains and hold many of the 13,000 tube and rocket artillery systems pointed toward Seoul, say U.S. military analysts.
South Korean officials say the decision was made during high-level talks in mid-May to sell Global Hawks to the air force for introduction during 2015-16. That’s a 4-5-year delay to an
earlier plan—derailed by a weakened currency—to field the capability by 2011, a year before the turnover of operational control. Global Hawk is a much-needed asset to supplement the South Korean air force’s four Raytheon-Hawker 800 and 17 RF-4C reconnaissance aircraft.
Meanwhile, the nation’s new F-15Ks are getting a rapid introduction. What officials here call the “Slam Eagle” won the F-X Phase 1 competition in 2002 over the Dassault Rafale,
Eurofighter Typhoon and Sukhoi Su-35. The Boeing design—an initial total of 39 aircraft—was chosen for the ease of integrating stockpiles of weapons already available to South Korea.
In Phase 2, the South Korean air force bought another 21 F-15Ks in 2007 (with delivery continuing through June 2010) to replace F-5A/Bs. These aircraft have compatibility with
the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and bunker busters, including the 5,000-lb. GBU-28
that was developed for the U.S. during the 1991 war with Iraq to destroy deeply buried command-and-control sites.
The F-X Phase 3 program is to provide 40-60 advanced multirole strike/fighters by 2014 to replace more of the air force’s aging F-4 and F-5 fleet. Proposed candidates so far are the
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and reduced-signature F-15 Silent Eagle.
An even longer term fighter project is dubbed KFX. It is to be an indigenous design with twin engines and an internal weapons bay to keep the radar signature low, and is intended to
replace the last of the F-4s.
In addition to the 60 F-15Ks, the South Korean air force’s order of battle includes 169 KF-16s (built by Korean Aerospace Industries). In service or in delivery are 170 variants of the supersonic (Mach 1.4) T-50. These include the F/A-50, T/A-50 and T-50B for light attack, training, aerobatics and fighter transition.
Another category of interest is the KAI-built KT-1, a locally modified and produced variant of the PC-9 two-seat turboprop. The South Korean air force flies 85 of them as trainers. Another
20, designated KA-1, are modified for close air support and forward air control. This is a key mission for the South Korean air force and army as U.S. tactical air controllers (ground based) and forward air controllers (in aircraft) are reduced in numbers in proportion to
the U.S. troop drawdown on the Korean peninsula.
South Korea’s pilot training program consists of the beginner course with the T-103, basic course with the KT-1 (PC-9 variant) and for “battle-purpose aircraft” pilots the advanced course with the T-50, say senior air force officials. At that point, since 2008, students
transition directly to the KF-16. This system has reduced training time to 26 months from 32. Total flight time is reduced by 26% and the cost of training by 30%, say senior South Korean air force officials. In 2012, when the TA-50 is fielded, a lead-in fighter training course will be established.
The other route in pilot training is the “air mobility aircraft” for those who will fly transport
aircraft and helicopters.
While air force modernization is moving swiftly, few expect the roles and mission of the South
Korean air force to change perceptibly after opcon transfer on Apr. 17, 2012.
The primary goal is stable force management led by South Korea’s joint chief of staff. Seoul intends to maintain a strong air force that can minimize damage in the early stages of war. The plan is to efficiently manage combined South Korean/U.S. assets such as fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, strategic bombers and information/cyberoperations during combat.