F-35A vs KF-X

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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maro.kyo

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Unread post27 Feb 2019, 08:36

What you've said is mostly in line to what I've said...
steve2267 wrote:I can't say that I've followed this thread super closely... but... what is your issue?

Did you read what I've wrote in the first place? It's a long post I know, but still :(

corsair1963 wrote:The KF-X is just a poor mans F-35 with two 4th Generation Engines. Which, is part of a High/Low Mix with the latter. It is not a rival in any sense of the word.

Yes, exactly! In fact, no one wants it to be a F-35 and no one believes it can be, including Koreans themselves. It was not even born to be one nor was it even once a F-35 equivalent.
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Unread post27 Feb 2019, 12:18

Here is one of those cases that I agree with "all the parties".

Yes, I fully agree with all of you that this KF-X won't be a match to the F-35 or more precisely it would/will be the "Low part" of a Hi/Low mix with the F-35.

On the other hand I don't believe that such aircraft will only cost $80 Million per unit (even by being less capable than the F-35) unless of course this program is to be highly subsidized by the South Korean government (which clearly it will) in order to "sunk" the a great part of the real per unit costs so that an artificial cost of $80 Million per unit could be created.

This being said, I can see the virtues of this program.
And the virtues of such program wouldn't or couldn't IMO be limited to internal procurement and development of national aerospace/combat aircraft development capabilities only.
If the Koreans manage to pull this off then it could IMO become an export success even because as most of us are aware, the F-35 is barred for the majority of countries in the world such as and for example the Philippines, Indonesia and/or Iraq. All of these countries received the FA-50 - a multirole South Korean aircraft based on the T-50 (actually Indonesia received the T-50 version only) - so these countries alongside with many others (to which the F-35 won't be exported) could be potential export costumers of the KF-X.
My 2 cents anyway...
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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steve2267

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Unread post27 Feb 2019, 16:20

If Saab is finding it difficult to sell the Gripen, then I would expect difficulties for the KF-X.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post27 Feb 2019, 17:42

maro.kyo wrote:
In that sense, KF-X is also very favorable because for the MPs, creating jobs by building a domestic equipment, thus spending less money to foreign product is a sound political deal to finance the project.

...

The procurement cost aside, maintenance costs are sure to stay below F-35. (note that in Korea the added value to military equipment manufactured within Korea is fixed by the law) In that sense, KF-X by the plan, is at least equal or even better than most of the foreign options to fill up the medium- class fighter inventory.

The time required and the cost for which the domestic equipment and parts are issued was unmatched for almost every example.

Korea needs governmental help to sustain it. Building parts for commercial jets and servicing MRO doesn't suffice to keep the R&D capabilities. Just take a look at Taiwan after F-CK-1. Hell, even Japan has this problem. You guys don't seem to understand but X-2 and F-3 program has a lot to do with keeping their aerospace industry alive.


I'm still having a hard time understanding the WHY to these arguments.
WHY does Korea need to own the entire aircraft design nosecone to exhaust cone?
I disagree that Korea cannot have an active and vibrant aerospace manufacturing AND R&D without owning the entire design process.

Nearly every country on Earth has already reached the conclusion that dozens of indigenous turbo-jet engine and radar development projects are both functionally and cost defective.

There are few components of the F-35 that indigenous Korean aerospace companies cannot bid and win the construction contracts for. The bidding process will require significant engineering effort to be successful since your Korean aerospace teams will be competing with global teams. With a committed effort I'm sure they will mostly succeed. Then all those local manufacturing cost and quality benefits you pointed out would certainly apply. You'll also get a high quality aircraft that will do a far better job of protecting the sovereignty of the Korean people for decades to come.

If protecting government funded Jobs is a higher priority than protecting the People however.......
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 03:57

steve2267 wrote:If Saab is finding it difficult to sell the Gripen, then I would expect difficulties for the KF-X.



Excellent point.......... 8)
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 11:35

steve2267 wrote:If Saab is finding it difficult to sell the Gripen, then I would expect difficulties for the KF-X.


While I also agree that you made an excellent point up there but I would like to point out a few diferences between Saab/Gripen and this KF-X if the Koreans manage to pull this out (on a timely manner), that is.
In the case of the Gripen (namely older variants ranging from -A/B to -C/D) or when the Gripen came up, there were "tons of competitors" out there ranging from F-16's, F/A-18's, Mig-29's, Sukhois, etc...
Regarding the Gripen E/F there's also several competitors such as the Super Hornet, Typhoon, Rafale, Su-35, F-16V, etc...

Now regarding 5th gen fighter aircraft - or 4.5th gen fighter aircraft with stealth features such as internal weapons, if you will - how may options are there besides the F-35?
According to the Chinese, the J-20 will only be manufactured for internal usage alone. Resuming it won't be exported (although I grant that this could change).
The (also Chinese) J-31 seems to be more of a demonstrator rather than a full fighter program even because the J-20 is clearly the top priority for the Chinese (it is yet to be seem if this stance regarding the J-31 will actual change).
The Su-57? I'm sure we all know what's the current state of this program, so no comment... :wink:
The Franco-German future aircraft? Well the Korean KF-X program is apparently in a more advanced state compared with this. Uncertainties within the EU may/could eventually prevent such "European" program so ever see the "light of day" and if it does see the "light of day" then the Koreans already have the head start here.

So if the Koreans manage to pull this out - and I admit, this is a very big (if not huge) IF - on a timely manner they could capitalize on the lack of future 5th gen options besides the F-35 which again, won't be exported to many/most of the countries in the world.
Last edited by ricnunes on 28 Feb 2019, 17:04, edited 2 times in total.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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maro.kyo

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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 15:56

steve2267 wrote:If Saab is finding it difficult to sell the Gripen, then I would expect difficulties for the KF-X.


It depends. The legacy 4th gen fighters in the market will slowly phase out exepct for few of 'em. The TF-X and AMCA could be possible contenders in the export market but I'm still unsure how those programs would actually turn out.

The biggest competition the KF-X will face in the export market would come from the SH and like I've said in the previous post, I'm quite skeptical about the commercial success of KF-X overseas. (hope you don't miss what I'm saying yet again) Its export success will largely depend on
1.) when the super bug production line closes
2.) how TF-X and AMCA will turn out.

On the other hand I couldn't really agree that the KF-X would have the same faith as the Gripen. Gripen is a small fighter from the ground up, thus the domestic demand was already considerably smaller than the KF-X. Having same or even higher price than the falcon didn't help as well. KF-X would definitely have a hard time offering a better deal than the newer SH but I don't think its gonna end up like the Gripen.

archeman wrote:There are few components of the F-35 that indigenous Korean aerospace companies cannot bid and win the construction contracts for. The bidding process will require significant engineering effort to be successful since your Korean aerospace teams will be competing with global teams. With a committed effort I'm sure they will mostly succeed. Then all those local manufacturing cost and quality benefits you pointed out would certainly apply. You'll also get a high quality aircraft that will do a far better job of protecting the sovereignty of the Korean people for decades to come.


That option cannot be the replacement of an indigenous fighter program in terms of its contribution for the industry. Korea would have not been able to become a tier 1 partner of JSF thus by the time when the program actually materialized there was no such space for a domestic involvement in the JSF program; the development was pretty mature by then and the allocation of production contracts for various parts were already decided.

I should disagree that Korea could've had the R&D opportunity joining the JSF program nor could I agree that the JSF would've had the similar impact of the KF-X on the domestic industry just by taking a look on what's going on in Japan and Turkrey. It just doesn't work.

archeman wrote: If protecting government funded Jobs is a higher priority than protecting the People however.......


You should still consider that a possible aggression, war or any kind of combat involving ROKAF mostly comes from the NK and KF-X can already do its job really well in this case. Even if the war escalates to the next level of threat and should ROK face China, KF-X would still deliver within the Korean air space under SAM and ground control coverage. Moreover, such level or warfare would surely see an active American involvement already, so...

I think this thread is in a wrong board with a wrong title in the first place. Like I've said, KF-X is not even meant to be comparable to the F-35. The discussion should rather be "F-35 or KF-X for ROKAF legacy fighter replacement"and I've tried to give some insight on that matter. Once more, there clearly is a sound and rational reason for ROK to pursue its own domestic fighter and claiming it is a national pride thing is clearly misunderstood. ROK is not under dictatorial regime nor is it the best choice to build a domestic fighter to win an election. That is my "issue" you understand? :P
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 16:28

charlielima223 wrote:I completely forgot about this aircraft. This is the most recent piece of news I found about it.
https://www.janes.com/article/85680/ind ... x-payments


https://www.janes.com/article/86534/kai ... one-on-kfx
A quick fix: KF-X doesn't replace the F-4. That's lightning's job and ROKAF will continue with 20 additional lightings in a near future. My guess for the 4th F-X lies anywhere in early-mid 20s. Don't think its gonna be any later than that.

ROKAF tried to lease F-15s 16s in AMARG as a stop-gap fighter but it was declined by the DoD. There were suggestions to produce 20 additional FA-50s in order to replace some of the F-5s and keep the KAI production line running but soon enough came new orders for the aircraft from overseas and meanwhile a huge opposition rose up within the air force, that it remained a proposal.

I will provide further details in the modern military aviation forum. Afterall, this thread is dedicated to the comparison of the two fighters so I guess it makes more sense concerning the news and updates.

Furthermore, apart from our conclusion that F-35 vs KF-X doesn't really work, it is just too premature to discuss anything about how the KF-X compares to anything already in the field. Without a flying aircraft and the feedback from its operators, we can't really do anything but a guess in current state.
Time will tell...
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 16:37

Damn, after several hours got this reply finally submitted. Deleting it because its a duplicate to one above.
Last edited by maro.kyo on 01 Mar 2019, 03:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 16:42

maro.kyo wrote:
steve2267 wrote:If Saab is finding it difficult to sell the Gripen, then I would expect difficulties for the KF-X.


It depends. The legacy 4th gen fighters in the market will slowly phase out exepct for few of 'em. The TF-X and AMCA could be possible contenders in the export market but I'm still unsure how those programs would actually turn out.

The biggest competition the KF-X will face in the export market would come from the SH and like I've said in the previous post, I'm quite skeptical about the commercial success of KF-X overseas. (hope you don't miss what I'm saying yet again) Its export success will largely depend on
1.) when the super bug production line closes
2.) how TF-X and AMCA will turn out.

On the other hand I couldn't really agree that the KF-X would have the same faith as the Gripen. Gripen is a small fighter from the ground up, thus the domestic demand was already considerably smaller than the KF-X. Having same or even higher price than the falcon didn't help as well. KF-X would definitely have a hard time offering a better deal than the newer SH but I don't think its gonna end up like the Gripen.

Uhhh... if a country is not permitted to purchase the F-35A @ $80M (+ FMS fees) each, and it cannot purchase a SuperHornet, why would it purchase an unproven KF-X for $80M rather than, say, an F-16V Blk 70?

maro.kyo wrote:I think this thread is in a wrong board with a wrong title in the first place. Like I've said, KF-X is not even meant to be comparable to the F-35.

Feel free to start a KF-X discussion in the Modern Military Aircraft forum.

maro.kyo wrote:The discussion should rather be "F-35 or KF-X for ROKAF legacy fighter replacement" and I've tried to give some insight on that matter. Once more, there clearly is a sound and rational reason for ROK to pursue its own domestic fighter and claiming it is a national pride thing is clearly misunderstood. ROK is not under dictatorial regime nor is it the best choice to build a domestic fighter to win an election. That is my "issue" you understand? :P


No, I don't understand your "issue." Now we're back to discussing whether or not is best for a country to spend the same amount of money ($80M) for an F-35A or for a brand new, unproven, yet-to-be-produced Gen 4.<somethingorother> aircraft? Is that really a question? If you are procuring the aircraft as a legacy fighter replacement, then the stated intent is to use that aircraft either as a deterrent, or in combat to defeat your enemy. It seems only logical, then, that the prudent person would spend the same amount of money to gain far greater capability to defeat one's enemy and enable as many of that person's nation's young people to return home in one piece.

If you want to argue that ROK is developing the KF-X for industry growth & development reasons, that's fine. But if you then try to compare it to an F-35, as you just did, expect a tough argument here.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 17:03

It's a longshot at best...

If the interested parties were to pull it off, I don't really see that much of an export potential. Not as capable as an F-35 is a foregone conclusion, and I seriously doubt it'll be anywhere near $80 million/copy. Has Japanese F-2 written all over it IMO..
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Unread post01 Mar 2019, 03:00

maro.kyo wrote:
I should disagree that Korea could've had the R&D opportunity joining the JSF program nor could I agree that the JSF would've had the similar impact of the KF-X on the domestic industry just by taking a look on what's going on in Japan and Turkrey. It just doesn't work.



I wouldn't group the Japan and Turkey experience together.
In one case a local manufacturer turned their "assembly" into a government jobs program, adding costs without adding value (like ROK is planning to do???).

In the other case the government turned the prime contractor host country into "the villain" and started cutting deals with their enemies. Nevertheless there is no way that you can point to Turkey's aerospace industry and tell me that they lost something here. Their sub-component production contracts continue to generate jobs, real aerospace jobs that feed families etc. https://www.f35.com/global/participatio ... ticipation

I hope you're not trying to say that Turkey has some special secret that Korean aerospace industry cannot compete with ever???

I just think that you are stuck with a base rule that ROK Must Have indigenous combat aircraft design and production completely in house (except for engines and radar and munitions and maybe a bunch of other stuff). Once you throw out that rule, a whole lot of options and competitive jobs open up.
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Unread post01 Mar 2019, 16:44

steve2267 wrote:Uhhh... if a country is not permitted to purchase the F-35A @ $80M (+ FMS fees) each, and it cannot purchase a SuperHornet, why would it purchase an unproven KF-X for $80M rather than, say, an F-16V Blk 70?

Yet another reply in which you argue what that is basically the same opinion as to mine. Are you doing so on purpose?
Didn't I just say that :
1) I'm skeptical towards the positive commercial outcome of the KF-X overseas
2) The possibility of it being a better deal than a legacy fighter like SH is going to be unlikely
3) Those possibilities largely depend on when the production of legacy fighters will end

Now if you're going to post yet another reply which basically draws the same line in a same direction to what I say, I can say nothing else but that it defeats the whole point of discussing something. Its very unproductive to argue the same thing just written in a slightly different manner don't you think?

Going further with 3) above, it is obvious that SHornet and block 70 falcon (or F-21 if they want to call it that way) will continue to exist in its respective production line for the mid 2020s but further than that it largely depends on the outcomes of Indian and German fighter acquisition program. When they fail in those two huge markets its gonna get tougher for the production line in South Carolina and St. Louis to survive. I'm not sure if that's going to be the case though and that uncertainty brings me my skeptical views towards the KF-X export possibilities.

steve2267 wrote:Feel free to start a KF-X discussion in the Modern Military Aircraft forum.

like I've wrote on the post above yours, I've got this problem of my post getting lost somewhere in the middle between the submit button and the thread. You've got nothing to worry.

No, I don't understand your "issue."

To make things clear, all I wanted to do was to address some clear misunderstandings of the program, which some folks were not only dismissing the program on a basis established above the lack of knowledge but also effectively disparaging my country's political and military system as a whole. As a modest countryman I was irritated of such matter so I've tried to address this by giving some insight to what might be the actual reason for pushing thru with KF-X. and that's it

steve2267 wrote:Now we're back to discussing whether or not is best for a country to spend the same amount of money ($80M) for an F-35A or for a brand new, unproven, yet-to-be-produced Gen 4.<somethingorother> aircraft? Is that really a question? If you are procuring the aircraft as a legacy fighter replacement, then the stated intent is to use that aircraft either as a deterrent, or in combat to defeat your enemy. It seems only logical, then, that the prudent person would spend the same amount of money to gain far greater capability to defeat one's enemy and enable as many of that person's nation's young people to return home in one piece.


You make valid points here and that's why I've wrote
Don't get me wrong, I myself is one of those pro-F35 guy. I never favored KF-X over F-35.

this. So once more, we're saying the same thing.
and for the price figure of $80 m per unit, which seems to disturb you so much, I've wrote
It's very hard to tell if KF-X is going to meet its planned cost of around $ 80 mil per unit (I'm personally skeptical about it)

Now do you understand why I'm getting to the point assuming you're not fully reading my posts?

But if you then try to compare it to an F-35, as you just did, expect a tough argument here.

Yeah, a tough argument occurs if one basically doesn't thoroughly read through the post which he is criticizing. I've basically stated multiple times that I'm not interested in any kind of "KF-X best plane, better than F-35 hur dur" BS because that's what, from basically everyone's point of view, a uneducated argument. That is the motive behind suggesting that this thread is misplaced.

I'm only providing what the ROKAF is suggesting as the reason to have a domestic fighter that I can personally agree with, thus I know better about Korean parliamentary procedures, military acquisition process and R&D system than most of the other members of this forum. Moreover I hear more from the members of the ROKAF, not only its pilots but also other parts of the branch including the logistics guys and maintenance guys and they make sound points (that I've already mentioned) as well.
As it is nothing short of being natural that members of the forum compare the two options purely on cost and performance basis, thus cannot give a logical answer to the question of "why should Korea do this" other than "national pride" and "its better to go for a F-35 all-in", I'm trying to help solve that trouble by contributing.

Now for the last time I hope that you understand that I'm basically saying what you're saying the whole bloody time, that I'm not arguing that KF-X is a better plane than a lightning, that I don't think $ 80 million per unit cost will be kept, that I don't think the KF-X will be so successful in the overseas market, but there still is a rational reason to pursue KF-X from what I see.

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Unread post01 Mar 2019, 16:54

maro.kyo wrote:Yet another reply in which you argue what that is basically the same opinion as to mine. Are you doing so on purpose?
Didn't I just say that :
1) I'm skeptical towards the positive commercial outcome of the KF-X overseas
2) The possibility of it being a better deal than a legacy fighter like SH is going to be unlikely
3) Those possibilities largely depend on when the production of legacy fighters will end

Now if you're going to post yet another reply which basically draws the same line in a same direction to what I say, I can say nothing else but that it defeats the whole point of discussing something. Its very unproductive to argue the same thing just written in a slightly different manner don't you think?



Yes, I agree. Evidently I did not think we were on the same page. My most humble apologies.
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Unread post01 Mar 2019, 17:08

archeman wrote:I wouldn't group the Japan and Turkey experience together.
In one case a local manufacturer turned their "assembly" into a government jobs program, adding costs without adding value (like ROK is planning to do???).

In the other case the government turned the prime contractor host country into "the villain" and started cutting deals with their enemies. Nevertheless there is no way that you can point to Turkey's aerospace industry and tell me that they lost something here. Their sub-component production contracts continue to generate jobs, real aerospace jobs that feed families etc. https://www.f35.com/global/participatio ... ticipation

I hope you're not trying to say that Turkey has some special secret that Korean aerospace industry cannot compete with ever???


I've mentioned both because one was a tier 3 partner of the program and other was the prime example of what Korea could have been, a non-development partner who still plays a role in the production; I wasn't really trying to group them.

Talking about Japan's example, although what you're saying is basically what it is, not only the Japanese government but the manufacturers thought the other way I guess. Good read on what Japan was thinking
http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Compani ... try?page=1

Recently there were some industry figures arguing the Japanese role in the production of their F-35 was comparable to building a model kit. They've expected more I guess. The problem is, that is what ROK would likely get into, not what ROK is planning to, if ROK decided to do sth with F-35 to include its industry. It would share lots of similarities to Japan: not a development partner but wants to do sth with the F-35 production...

Concerning the example of Turkey, I'm not talking about the recent outcome. Should have clearly stated, my bad. My consideration is about what Turkey was able to do before the recent political and diplomatic upset. By getting actively involved in the program, they've got what you've just mentioned. Their sub-component production contracts show that they aren't losing, that's for sure. You are more than right and I'm not arguing about it. What I'm arguing is that ROK wants more than just a sub-component production.

Sub-component production is what ROK aerospace industry has been doing for years. Parts of the fuselage of both commercial and military aircraft, wings, engine components, maintenance service for USAF aircraft in the west pacific, upgrade services... If they are spending money to get nothing more than yet another sub-component contract, things they have been doing well for quite a while without paying vast amounts of contribution to the program, they wouldn't really be tempted don't you think?

What ROK wants is a R&D opportunity and way to keep the R&D system alive, likewise not to face the same faith as to the case of Taiwan.

More importantly, like what I've mentioned, that kind of Turkey-equivalent amount of contribution to the program wouldn't have been available for Korea as they were too late in the game. As a non partner nation, I don't expect more things to happen for Korea compared to what Japan got. Final assembly at best.

You may argue why ROK needs such R&D capabilities in the first place but there are lots of possible outcomes which are not to be seen without such capabilities.

archeman wrote:I just think that you are stuck with a base rule that ROK Must Have indigenous combat aircraft design and production completely in house (except for engines and radar and munitions and maybe a bunch of other stuff). Once you throw out that rule, a whole lot of options and competitive jobs open up.


Yes maybe... Maybe I'm a die hard KF-X supporter and maybe you are right that I'm narrow minded and trying to ignore other possibilities... but at least before the KF-X program actually commenced, I preferred the F-35 over KF-X like I've mentioned in my first post.

What you mention as a "whole lot of options and competitive jobs" though, is what others can also enjoy. There is a competition in this sector and what I guess is that ROK wants to get above it. I'm not sure about what you mean by "various options" but for ROK without any R&D capabilities has a single option and that is to remain a sub-component contractor; that contract is not an everlasting, fixed contract that they are guaranteed to win every single time and If they lose the contract, they lose the industry. Developing the T-50 and FA-50 aircraft lead to some significant and positive outcomes and that clearly has greatly encouraged ROK to go further than to remain a mere subcontractor.

The aerospace industry in ROK is clearly not autonomous and that's what I've already mentioned. So in that case, KF-X is what I consider as a sole opportunity to keep the industry alive, grow and thrive in the near future. No other project would promote various sectors of aerospace and defense related tech like KF-X does and there are other factors than just the domestic industry that supports the program. That is what I see.

https://www.janes.com/article/86534/kai ... one-on-kfx
This article shows what I'm trying to say. I can't really think of any other opportunities that keeps more than 100 agencies busy; definitely not a sub-component contract for the F-35. In fact, KF-X leads to domestic development of articles including the "radar and ordnance and those bunch of other stuff". Some of them are being developed in conjunction KF-X related programs which exists because of KF-X in the first place.
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