Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) rolled-out Friday the first prototype of its KF-X fighter, officially christened “KF-21 Boramae,” built under a 8.8 trillion-won (US$7.9 billion) project, South Korea’s most expensive defence project to date that began in 2015. The KF-21 Boramae is scheduled to fly for the first time in 2022. KAI plans to build more prototypes and carry out flight tests from next year and to complete the development of the Block-1 system by June 2026. KAI plan to deploy 40 jets by 2028 and a total of 120 by 2032.
Based on this 4.5 generation platform, South Korea will be capable of building more advanced versions down the road. Around 65 percent of its components are being made indigenously, including the active electronically scanned array (AESA) rada. In addition, the EW Suite (Integrated Electronic Warfare Equipment), IRST (infrared search and track) pod and EO TGP (electro optical targeting pod). Given the national importance attached to the project, 16 of universities, 11 of laboratories and 553 suppliers are participating in the KF-X project.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in held talks with Indonesia’s defense minister Prabowo Subianto on Thursday ahead of an official ceremony to roll out the KF-X fighter jet tomorrow; but failed to break a deadlock over Indonesia’s continued participation in the KF-X project. Later, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto held a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook, in Seoul on Thursday. The Indonesian delegations held discussions on “key issues in defense and security as well as exchanged views on regional security and bilateral cooperation.”
The KAI KF-X 7is a joint South Korean and Indonesian multirole fighter aircraft development program with the goal of producing an advanced multirole fighter for the South Korean and Indonesian air forces. The airframe is stealthier than other 4th generation fighters, but does not carry weapons in one or more internal bays like 5th generation fighters. The KAI KF-X is South Korea’s second domestic fighter jet development program, following the FA-50. The KF-X development program is also known as Boramae (보라매, Korean for “hawk”), and in Indonesia is sometimes referred to as IF-X.