While the world looks more likely to go to war, this potentially hazardous situation has led to good business for the aerospace and defence sectors. Fourth generation jet fighters are very high performing and very manoeuvrable, but they lack “radar invisibility” stealth attributes that more modern fifth generation fighter aircraft have. As such, nations are now looking to rearm their air forces with these latest types. However, sometimes, add-on spacecraft “sweetener” contracts can complicate fighter procurement.
For, as it faces new stealthy types in China (though not yet in North Korea), South Korea decided to purchase 40 new F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin for US$7 billion. As an add-on to the deal, a new military communications satellite called KMilSatcom which would be built by Lockheed Martin. However, as SpaceIntel.com reports, due to cost growth the satellite’s construction was suspended, and with the agreement of the S. Korean DAPA agency, the contract has now been subcontracted to the European satellite constructor Airbus Defence and Space.
The deal will be a source of kudos for the Europeans who will no doubt make great play over the fact that they can deliver where Lockheed Martin cannot.