The fighter jet project, previously known as KF-X, was unveiled under the name KF-21 Boramae. The prototype of the plane was unveiled at a ceremony attended by the President of South Korea and the Indonesian Defense Minister.
KF-21 Boramae (young hawk), which is planned to be the main striking force of the South Korean Air Force (ROKAF) in the 2020s and will be the first national warplane of the country, was introduced at the ceremony attended by President Moon Jae-in. The aircraft, known as the milestone for the South Korean defense industry, was known as the KF-X until its introduction. Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto attended the demonstration ceremony, representing Indonesia, which is the partner of the program.
Six KF-21 prototypes will be produced under the program that S. Korea has been working on with Indonesia since 2016. While the first three of the prototypes reach the end of this year, the other three will be delivered to the relevant air force in the first half of 2022. According to President Jae-in, mass production of the KF-21 will begin in 2028. The mass production process, which will start with the target of 40 aircraft, will reach 120 aircraft in 2032.
It is stated that the KF-21, which will house two of the F414-GE-400K Turbofan engines produced by General Electric (GE) Aviation, will come in versions with both single and double seat designs. The aircraft will be equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground missile systems and weapons such as air-launched cruise missiles.
100 thousand additional jobs
The figures given for the KF-21 project, which is expected to create a very serious source of employment for S. Korea, are also quite striking. According to the information given by President Jae-in, when the aircraft goes into mass production, 100 thousand additional jobs will be created and the project will provide the country with an added value of approximately 5.2 billion dollars. If the plane is exported, this value will increase exponentially.
It is stated that the project, in which 719 companies based in South Korea are involved, has a 65% localization rate. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) stated that it is planned to increase this rate in more than 30 thousand parts used in the aircraft in the coming period.
Fifth generation, later
The KF-21 is called the 4.5 generation, not the 5th generation, since the first versions will be produced without an internal gun mount. According to the Korean Aerospace Industry (KAI) officials, the aircraft will be promoted to the 5th generation with the updates in the future.
Indonesia, partner of the KF-21 project, is responsible for 20% of the total development cost. As a result, the Indonesian Air Force will produce 50 KF-21s on its own territory, with technology transfer.
Speaking within the scope of the project, President Jae-in said, “A new era has come in the field of self-defense and we have reached a turning point for our air force history. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Indonesian government, which believes in what Korea can do and has partnered with us in this project. The two countries will continue to work together until the project is completed and the mass production stage is reached, and until we start to reach the markets of other countries. ” he took his words.
The KF-21, which will replace the ROKAF’s now aging F-4D / E Phantom II and F-5E / F Tiger II fleet, will have a speed of 2,253 km / h and a range of 2,900km. The aircraft, which will have a maximum take-off weight of 25,580 kg, will be able to carry a maximum useful load of 7,700 kg.