South Korean KAI KF-21 Boramae Fighter Jet Undergoing Taxiing Trials
South Korean KAI KF-21 Boramae Fighter Jet Undergoing Taxiing Trials

Philippine Air Force Eyes South Korean-made KF-21 Boramae Multi-role Fighter

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is eyeing the South Korean-made KF-21 “Boramae” multi-role fighter, which is now undergoing development and flight testing, as one of the possible contenders for its multi-role fighter (MRF) project. PAF spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano made this remark when asked if the KF-21, whose airframe is described as “stealthier than any fourth-generation fighter” is being considered for the MRF project. It is a possibility given that the MRF (project) has not been funded yet, the KF-21 Boramae can be a contender for the MRF (project). The PAF is closely monitoring the developments of the KF-21 whose prototype had its first flight last July 19.

The prototyping stage for any system can be done faster due to the available technology, and we might see it fielded soon. The Philippine Air Force’s Multi-role Fighter Project requires at least 12 units of fourth-generation fighters capable of integrating with existing radar systems and has a range of at least 250 nautical miles. If funded, this project is worth around PHP61 billion ($ 1 billion). The KF-21 Boramae to become a viable combat aircraft like the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50PHs, which the PAF has around 12 in service. The deliveries of the FA-50PH aircraft in the country started in 2015 and ended in 2017. The contract was worth around PHP18 billion ($ 322 million).

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Korea Aerospace Industries KF-21 Boramae Multi-role Fighter
Korea Aerospace Industries KF-21 Boramae Multi-role Fighter and Lead-in Fighter Trainer/Light Combat Aircraft. (Photo by Korea Aerospace Industries)

The KF-21 Boramae (formerly known as KF-X) is a South Korean fighter aircraft development program, with Indonesian involvement, with the goal of producing an advanced multirole fighter for the South Korean and Indonesian air forces. The airframe is stealthier than any fourth-generation fighter, but does not carry weapons in internal bays like fifth-generation fighters, though internal bays may be introduced later in development. In April 2021, the first prototype was completed and unveiled during a rollout ceremony at the headquarters of KAI at Sacheon Airport. It was officially given the name Boramae (Fighting Hawk).

The KF-21 Boramae, which is also produced by KAI, is a South Korean fighter aircraft development program, with Indonesian involvement, with the goal of producing an advanced multi-role fighter for South Korea and Indonesia. The program is led by the South Korean government, which has 60 percent of the program’s shares. Indonesia took a 20 percent stake in the program in 2010, while the remaining 20 are held by private partners including KAI. South Korea is expected to field the KF-21 by 2026. Its primary intended users are the Republic of Korea Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force. The KF-21 is South Korea’s second domestic fighter jet development program, following the FA-50.

Production line of the KF-21, prototype 3,4,5,6 is shown, where prototype 5 will be a twin-seat fighter jet.
Production line of the KF-21, prototype 3,4,5,6 is shown, where prototype 5 will be a twin-seat fighter jet. (Photo by Korea Aerospace Industries)

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