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South Korea’s Indigenous 5th Gen Fighter Jet, KF-21 “Boramae” Enters Production Phase

The technical test, referred to as the "Provisional Combat Suitability Evaluation," is conducted to enable the entities involved in the development of the armament system for the KF-21 "Boramae" aircraft to secure allocations well in advance of meeting all combat requirements. This is done as part of an effort to expedite the large-scale construction process of the aircraft long before it fulfills all the necessary combat needs.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The 4.5 generation fighter aircraft developed by the South Korean defense industry, KF-21 “Boramae,” has successfully completed all specialized technical tests, allowing for it to enter the mass production stage to commence this year.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of South Korea stated that the KF-21 aircraft has passed a technical test known as the “Provisional Combat Suitability Evaluation,” enabling it to move into the production phase.

The approval for entering the production phase is based on hundreds of air and ground test flights conducted by the fighter aircraft over the past two years.

DAPA mentioned in a statement that these tests have laid the foundation for initiating large-scale aircraft production starting next year.

“The tests have set the groundwork for us to commence the production of the aircraft on a significant scale from next year,” stated DAPA in an official statement.

KF-21
KF-21

 

The technical tests were introduced to enable the developers of the KF-21 weapon system to secure allocations well before meeting all combat requirements, thereby expediting the large-scale construction process of the aircraft.

Since the introduction of the first KF-21 prototype to the public in April of this year, South Korean authorities have conducted various technical tests on the six prototype aircraft constructed.

These technical tests include approximately 200 test flights to examine 260 components and systems of the aircraft, including its speed, combat operational range, release and landing distances.

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has developed six KF-21 prototype aircraft, which will undergo 2,200 test flights until 2026 to validate the technical capabilities of the aircraft.

 Launched in 2015, the KF-21 aircraft development program is estimated to cost $6.59 billion, with the aim of replacing aging supersonic fighter aircraft of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), such as the F-4 Phantom and F-5.

KF-21
Twin-seater KF-21 “Boramae”

 

KAI plans to deliver 40 KF-21 Block 1 aircraft designed for air-to-air missions in 2028, followed by 80 Block 2 aircraft for air-to-ground missions in 2030.

The South Korean aerospace giant also reportedly intends to start exporting the KF-21 “Boramae” fighter aircraft to interested customers from 2028 onwards.

KAI has targeted several countries as potential customers for the KF-21 fighter aircraft, especially those already using light fighter aircraft like the FA-50/T-50, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, and Poland.

Considering that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is set to use the FA-50 Block 20, KAI also identifies the South East Asia country as one of the potential customer for the 4.5 generation KF-21 fighter.

With a reported unit price of $65 million (RM260 million) as per international defense media, the KF-21’s (likely Block 1) cost is lower compared to other 4.5 generation aircraft such as the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon. – DSA

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