Arms agency requests police probe into alleged fighter jet tech leak by Indonesian engineer

The state arms procurement agency has requested a police investigation into an Indonesian engineer's alleged attempt to steal technologies related to a joint fighter jet development project, defense officials said Thursday. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) made the request Wednesday after concluding a preliminary joint government probe into the engineer dispatched to Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI), the manufacturer of the KF-21 under development, according to the officials. The engineer was caught last month attempting to take a USB storage device with data on the fighter jet and has been banned from leaving South Korea. With DAPA's request, police officials are expected to look into whether the data included military secrets or other technology in violation of the Defense Technology Security Act. The move comes as the joint development project worth 8.1 trillion won (US$6.1 billion) through 2026 faces uncertainties over Indonesia's overdue payments. Jakarta has failed to make timely contributions to the project despite agreeing to shoulder about 20 percent of the project's cost in return for receiving one prototype and technology transfers, as well as for the building of 48 units in Indonesia. South Korea launched the project in full-scale in 2015 to develop a supersonic fighter to replace its aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 jets. The first production model is expected to be delivered to the Air Force in 2026. Source: Yonhap News Agency