Military Aviation

Spain could swap 6 A400M airlifters for South Korea’s 30 KT-1 and 20 T-50 trainers

Spain has reportedly ordered 27 A400M airlifters from Airbus but has decided to sell 13 of them and received consent from Airbus.

South Korea and Spain are expected to launch negotiations as early as this month to swap four to six A400Ms that Spain ordered for 30 KT-1s and 20 T-50s.

Anonymous sources in South Korea say a working-level negotiating team will travel to Spain soon.

According to Yonhap News, the deal, if realized, would mark South Korea’s first export of aircraft to Europe.

Spain first broached the idea at the Farnborough International Airshow in Britain in July last year and officially proposed it when the two countries held a meeting in November of their joint defense industry cooperation committee.

Spain has reportedly ordered 27 A-400M cargo aircraft from Airbus but has decided to sell 13 of them and received consent from Airbus. The country is reportedly hoping to deliver four to six A-400M airlifters to Korea in return for 30 KT-1 and 20 T-50 trainers.

South Korea plans to send a team of officials to Spain for negotiations, officials said.

“The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has put together our government’s position and negotiating strategies and reported them to the defense ministry,” a government official said on customary condition of anonymity.

“A working-level negotiating team, consisting mainly of DAPA officials and also including some defense ministry officials, will be dispatched to Spain as early as this month,” the official said.

South Korea has a fleet of C-130 Hercules cargo planes, each of which can fly more than 5,200 kilometers with a maximum load of 74,393 kilograms. The A-400M can accommodate 141,000 kg with a range of roughly 8,700 km.

South Korea’s Air Force said it’s in need of larger airlifters for more efficient disaster relief and peacekeeping operations.

The A400M is a tactical airlifter comparable to the C-130 Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster III. Capable of all major components of airlift, including transport, airdrops and aeromedical evacuation, it will eventually replace the C-130 for the RAF, leaving only a small fleet of the older aircraft in service.

Photo credit: Peter Gronemann from Switzerland (A400M seconds to touch down)

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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