S. Korea reportedly mulls Israeli components to boost army's prowess

15:36, January 13, 2011      

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By Adam Gonn

South Korea is looking to upgrade its military capabilities by acquiring advanced Israeli military hardware and technology, according to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.

Seoul has decided to increase its defense budget by 25 percent and part of the fund may be distributed to buy missiles, drones and missile defense systems from Israel, the paper reported on Wednesday.

Alon Levkovitz of the Department of East-Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told Xinhua that Israel has had strong military ties with South Korea for some time.

"Israel and South Korea have been trading military equipment for years," Levkovitz said, estimating that armament deals reached above one billion U.S. dollars.

Over the past years, there have been a number of arms and defense deals concluded between the two countries. South Korea recently signed an agreement to purchase radar systems developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, Ha'aretz reported.

The T-50 trainer jet produced by Korean Aerospace Industries has been mentioned in Israeli media as a possible candidate for purchase by the Israeli air force (IAF). The IAF is looking for a new training jet for its cadets before they continue on to more advanced fighter aircraft.

One advantage the South Korean T-50 offers over its competitors is its similarity to the F-16 fighter, the backbone of the IAF.

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