Launched in April: South Korea’s export target is 300-500 KF-X – South Korea will launch its newest fighter jet, the KF-X, in April 2021. It is currently the first prototype and is painted yellow-green to dark gray.
Launched in April: South Korea’s export target is 300-500 KF-X
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – The KF-X fighter was built by South Korea to replace the aging F-4 Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II Korean Air Force (RoKAF) aircraft.
The April launch of the KF-X will be a “turning point” for the country and its aerospace industry, said Chung Kwang-sun, KF-X program manager at the Defense Acquisition Program Office (DAPA).
“For now, we are only working with blueprints, but we will get something that we can actually see and test to see if what we have learned actually works,” Chung told reporters at Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) Sacheon plant in southern South Korea, as reported by Yonhap News Agency.
The KF-X program has been under development by KAI since late 2015 at a cost of 8.8 trillion won ($7.9 billion).
With a maximum payload of 7,700 kg, the KF-X is equipped with 10 suspensions to carry anti-aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons and other equipment.
It has a maximum speed of 2,200 km/h and a range of up to 2,900 km.
Three prototypes of the KF-X will be built this year.
KAI will build three KF-X prototypes by the end of 2021 and three more next year. Two prototypes will be used for ground testing. The prototypes will be single-seat, but they will also have tandem seats.
Meanwhile, the first test flight will take place in 2022, and mass production will begin in 2026.
According to the company, the KF-X will belong to the 4.5 generation non-stationary fighter group.
Future developments may include research to add capabilities to meet military needs.
Seoul said it will ship 40 KF-Xs to the RCAF by 2028. The remaining 80 units will be delivered by 2032.
On the possibility of exporting the KF-X, Jung said the project has the potential to export about 300 to 500 aircraft overseas.
“According to our estimates, we can export about 300 to 500 aircraft overseas before this project is launched, considering the countries that are planning to replace their aging fighter jets,” Jung said.
Seoul and Jakarta are still in talks.
As for Indonesia’s participation, he said Seoul and Jakarta are still negotiating to find a mutually beneficial middle ground.
Indonesia has pledged to bear 20 percent of the total development cost of the project. But Seoul said Jakarta stopped paying after investing 227.2 billion won, or about 600 billion won, late in the process.
The post-sale price for each KF-X unit has not yet been announced. The new price will be determined based on market conditions when the aircraft goes into production, said the official, who declined to comment.
More than 11,800 people were involved in the development of the KF-X, and 2,500 new jobs were created by 2020. This project is also expected to bring in new workers.