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South Korea’s FA-50 LCA Now Capable of Launching “IRIS-T” Air-to-Air Missiles

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the German defense company, Diehl Defence have entered into a partnership that will see South Korean-manufactured FA-50 and KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jets equipped with Diehl’s “IRIS-T” medium-range air-to-air missiles.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the German defense company, Diehl Defence have entered into a partnership that will see South Korean-manufactured FA-50 and KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jets equipped with Diehl’s “IRIS-T” medium-range air-to-air missiles.

 Developed by Diehl Defence, the “IRIS-T” missile is capable of engaging aerial targets up to 25km away, utilizing infrared and radar homing guidance systems.

This collaboration agreement was recently signed at Diehl Defence’s headquarters in Berlin, representing a strategic move by the South Korean firm to enhance the appeal of its products to potential buyers, especially in Europe.

Two years ago, Poland became the first European purchaser of the FA-50 light combat aircraft, acquiring 48 units.

KAI had previously announced its intention to equip its currently under-development KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jet with the “IRIS-T” air-to-air missile.

IRIS-T
“IRIS-T” air-to-air missile developed by Diehl Defence.

 

Now, the light combat FA-50 aircraft is also set to be outfitted with Diehl’s missiles in the future, offering FA-50 operators worldwide, including Malaysia, a broader range of air-to-air missile options for their light fighters.

In April last year, KAI successfully conducted a test launch of the “IRIS-T” medium-range air-to-air missile from a KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jet.

In March of the same year, the company also completed a test launch of the “Meteor BVR (Beyond Visual Range)” long-range air-to-air missile, developed by the defense company MBDA.

The partnership with MBDA is expected to equip KAI-developed fighter jets, including the KF-21 “Boramae,” with other missiles such as SPEAR, ASRAAM, and Brimstone, also developed by MBDA.

These MBDA missiles, including the SPEAR (Select Precision Effects At Range) air-to-ground missile, the ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile), and Brimstone, a ground-attack missile, may not only be utilized by South Korean Air Force’s KF-21 Boramae and FA-50 but also by international operators of these aircraft, should they choose to arm their FA-50s with these weapon systems.

KF-21
The KF-21 aircraft launches the air-to-air missile IRIS-T.

 

The SPEAR missile is capable of precisely hitting targets from 130km to 140km away without causing collateral damage, acting as a mini cruise missile.

ASRAAM, a replacement for the US-made AIM-9 short-range air-to-air missile in the British Air Force, is utilized by the Eurofighter Typhoon, enabling engagement of aerial targets at distances of 25km and beyond.

While the “METEOR” missile serves for long-range engagements, the “ASRAAM” is designed for close-range air threats, and the “Brimstone” missile is capable of striking ground targets from 20km to 25km away.– DSA

(MORE ARTICLES ABOUT FA-50 LIGHT COMBAT AIRCRAFT)

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