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South Korea Invests US$480 Million to Locally Develop Air-to-Air Missiles for KF-21 “Boramae”

The country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) recently announced that the development program for the locally-developed short range air-to-air  missiles is estimated to cost $460 million (RM2 billion).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — South Korea is planning to develop short-range air-to-air missiles for use by the indigenously-develop 4.5 generation fighter aircraft, the KF-21 “Boramae,” which is set to be mass-produced beginning this year.

The country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) recently announced that the development program for the locally-develop short range air-to-air  missiles is estimated to cost $460 million (RM2 billion) from the state coffers.

The short-range air-to-air guided missile development program aims to produce these missiles by the year 2035.

This initiative is expected to enhance the capabilities of the local defense industry through the creation of advanced defense systems and further boost the export of indigenous missiles associated with the KF-21 fighter aircraft.

Previously, the KF-21 Boramae fighter aircraft has conducted tests with air-to-air missiles, including the BRV “Meteor” and IRIS-T guided missiles.

South Korea is gearing up for mass production KF-21 “Boramae” fighter aircraft after successfully completing various technical tests.

The KF-21 “Boramae” deploying the long-range air-to-air guided missile “METEOR.”


The development of the KF-21 fighter aircraft by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is a crucial component of South Korea’s defense strategy.

The East Asian nation aims to ensure the large-scale production of the KF-21 this year to avoid a “capability gap” when older fighter aircraft, such as the F-4E Phantom and F-5, are phased out of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF).

Developed by South Korea’s defense industry, the KF-21 “Boramae” 4.5 generation aircraft has successfully passed all specific technical tests, allowing for mass production to commence this year.

According to DAPA, the KF-21 aircraft has completed a technical test known as the “Provisional Combat Suitability Evaluation” to initiate the mass production process in the current year.

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

One of the KF-21 “Boramae” prototype.


Launched in 2015, the KF-21 aircraft development program is estimated to cost $6.59 billion (RM26.36 billion), aiming to replace aging supersonic fighter aircraft in the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), such as the F-4 Phantom and F-5.

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

South Korea’s aerospace giant also expresses interest in exporting the KF-21 “Boramae” fighter aircraft to potential customers, starting in 2028.

KAI has identified several countries as potential customers for the KF-21 fighter aircraft, particularly those already using or planning to use the FA-50/T-50 light fighter aircraft, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, Poland, and potentially the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), which has procured the FA-50 Block 20. — DSA

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