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Iraq signs $1.1 bn deal to buy S Korean fighters


Seoul: South Korean defence contractor Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) has signed a deal with Iraq to export 24 light fighter jets valued at $1.1billion, the company said on Thursday.

The deal to supply FA-50 aircraft also includes training for Iraqi pilots and other support for the Iraqi Air Force for the next two decades, which could push the total value of the deal to $2 billion, the contractor said in a statement.

The FA-50 is a light attack variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer that was co-developed by KAI and US defence firm Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Iraqi version of the FA-50, labeled the T-50 IQ, can be armed with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, machine guns and precision-guided bombs along with other munitions, KAI said.

KAI has previously exported a T-50 variant to Indonesia and is pursuing deals with the Philippines and Chile.

South Korea has been to capture a larger share of the global defence market with its fighter jets amid a projected sharp increase in demand for military equipment over the next decade.

Delivery to Iraq will begin in April 2016 and will be made over a year, a company official said.

Source: Reuters

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