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2 Indonesian Engineers Accused of Trying to Steal KF-21 Documents

Written: 2024-02-02 14:25:22Updated: 2024-02-02 15:40:05

2 Indonesian Engineers Accused of Trying to Steal KF-21 Documents

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: Two engineers dispatched from Indonesia as part of a joint project to develop the KF-21 fighter jet with South Korea are being investigated over allegations of attempting to steal technological information. A travel ban has been imposed on the suspects, and authorities are also exploring the possibility of an accomplice within South Korea's exclusive aircraft manufacturer.
Choi You Sun reports.

Report: Two Indonesian engineers participating in the development of South Korea's KF-21 fighter jet are under investigation after they allegedly tried to steal internal documents.

According to the state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration(DAPA) on Friday, the engineers dispatched to Korea Aerospace Industries(KAI) were apprehended last month while trying to take out files related to the project stored on a USB drive.

While a joint investigation involving the National Intelligence Service(NIS), the defense procurement agency, and the Defense Counterintelligence Command is under way, the engineers have been banned from leaving the country.

A DAPA official said the probe is focused on identifying the specific documents the Indonesian engineers attempted to steal, noting that the USB drive primarily contained general documents, and not those related to strategic technologies that might violate laws on military secrets or the protection of defense industrial technology.

Due to the engineers' restricted access to classified zones within the KAI building, investigators are also reportedly reviewing the possibility of an internal accomplice.

Indonesia, a partner in the project, had agreed to shoulder 20 percent of the total project cost, amounting to one-point-seven trillion won, or approximately one-point-three billion U.S. dollars, by June 2026, while manufacturing 48 jets after receiving a prototype and technology documents from South Korea.

Despite having paid 227-point-two billion won until January 2019, Jakarta has accumulated an overdue payment of around one trillion won, citing budget shortages.

Since the completion of the first prototype in April 2021, the sixth KF-21 successfully took flight last year. The South Korean Air Force aims to deploy 120 KF-21s by 2032.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

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