UAE to work with South Korea on MC-X military transport program

KAI MC-X model
Korea Aerospace Industries

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea for the joint development of the MC-X, an upcoming military transport aircraft.  

The MoU was signed by Tawazun Council, the UAE defense and security acquisitions authority, and Korean Aerospace industries (KAI), during a meeting that saw South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol visit UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.   

Multiple other cooperation agreements were also signed between South Korea and the UAE, including MoUs regarding mutual space exploration and energy partnership, according to Emirati state news agency WAM. 

KAI unveiled the MC-X in September 2022, expecting it to enter service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in the 2030s.  

The project is to develop a twin-engine jet transport aircraft with a payload capacity of up to 30,000 kilograms (66,140 pounds) that can bridge the gap between several existing ROKAF transport aircraft.   

Currently the transport fleet of the ROKAF is mostly comprised of CASA/IPTN CN-235 light turboprops, several variants of Lockheed C-130 Hercules heavy turboprop, and a number of Airbus A330 MRTT tankers, that can also double as cargo aircraft.  

In its characteristics the MC-X is roughly comparable with the Brazilian Embraer C-390 Millennium and the Japanese Kawasaki C-2 military transport aircraft.  

During the unveiling of the MC-X project, KAI disclosed the possibility of bringing a foreign partner to join the project, in addition to exporting the jet.  

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