S. Korea Seeks Subs-for-Aircraft Deal with Indonesia

SEOUL ~ South Korea is seeking a deal to trade its 1,300-ton diesel-electric attack submarines for Indonesian-built patrol aircraft, military officials said on Tuesday.

The deal will be discussed when arms procurement officials from the two nations meet in Jakarta next week, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

He declined to confirm local media reports that the two nations would sign a memorandum of understanding on a US$1-billion deal to trade two South Korean submarines for eight Indonesian-built CN-235s.

“We hope to sell our 1,300-ton 209-class submarines in return for acquiring CN-235s,” a spokesman for the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration said, without confirming details of the deal.

“If the two nations agree on the deal, we can export submarines for the first time,” he said.

South Korea has nine 209-Class and two 1,800-ton 214-class submarines, both designed by Germany. It has already purchased eight CN-235s, jointly developed by Indonesia and Spain.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, has upgraded its ageing sea fleet.

If the two sides fail to agree next week, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-Hee will address the issue during his visit to Jakarta this month, the Korea Times said.

“The two sides have virtually finalised the deal, as Indonesia accepted our final proposal on June 12 when its vice defense chief was visiting,” a source was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

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