KF-21 stealth fighter is getting closer to the European market

The Korean KF-21 Boramae stealth fighter is getting closer to the European market. Still undergoing flight and gunnery tests, the KF-21 has added another missile to its portfolio. However, it is extremely important if KF-21 wants to export to Europe.

It is the Iris-T medium-range air-to-air missile. In early April, the missile, jointly developed by several European countries, was attached to the hard points under the wings of the Korean fighter. After taking off from the runway and reaching the required altitude, the KF-21 pilot pulled the trigger and fired the first Iris-T. The conditional target was successfully hit. This a successful test and a wink to the European countries that the KF-21 will be a factor here.

The choice of Iris-T is not accidental. From a purely technical point of view, many experts assumed before the test that it was the Iris-T, due to its high characteristics, that was chosen to be under the wing of the KF-21. The Iris-T is a proven air-to-air munition for successful air combat and close-range interception.

Poland may be first

Korea ignited both F414 engines of its stealth KF-21 Boramae
Photo credit: ADN

Poland may become the first country to acquire the KF-21 in the future. Moreover, Poland does not just want to buy, but the opportunity to produce these aircraft on European soil. At least such intentions and wishes were expressed by Mr. Sebastian Hwawek, head of PGZ on December 9, 2022.

In the past 12 months, Poland and South Korea have greatly strengthened their relationship, especially after Warsaw made large-scale military purchases from the Asian country. It is about the purchase of Korean K2 tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers, the K239 multiple rocket launcher, and the FA-50 light attack aircraft.

That is why the successful test of the Iris-T missile by the KF-21 is more than an increase in the weapons portfolio with which the KF-21 will be able to operate. This missile is in service in almost all of Europe. The countries of Austria, Sweden, as well as Hungary, and Latvia, do not have fighters of the fifth generation in their composition but operate with the Iris-T missiles.

Supersonic 4.5-gen KF-21 Boramae fighter flew for the first time
Photo credit: YouTube

In a situation in which the costs of operating and maintaining the F-35, instead of decreasing, are increasing, and the European next-generation fighter simply lags behind, at some point the KF-21 may become a super-alternative. And production in Poland will drastically reduce not only delivery costs but also future maintenance.

What type of radar does the KF-21 use?

Watch: KF-21 Boramae fighter armed with 4 METEORs flew for the first time
Photo credit: YouTube

The specific AESA radar system used in the KF-21 is the EL/M-2032, which is produced by the Israeli defense electronics company Elta Systems. The EL/M-2032 is known for its long detection range, high resolution, and ability to track multiple targets simultaneously.

In addition to the EL/M-2032, the KF-21 also has a distributed aperture system (DAS) that uses multiple sensors located around the aircraft to provide 360-degree coverage. This allows the pilot to have a complete view of the surrounding airspace, even if the aircraft is not pointed directly at a target.

The combination of the AESA radar and DAS on the KF-21 provides advanced situational awareness for the pilot, making it easier to detect and track enemy aircraft and threats. This is a critical capability for a modern fighter jet, as air superiority is often a key factor in military operations.

What stealth technology does the KF-21 use?

The KF-21 uses a combination of stealth technologies, including radar-absorbent materials, shape optimization, and infrared signature reduction.

KF-21 Boramae fighter will change the defenses of Korea and Indonesia
Photo credit: AFP

The aircraft’s design incorporates several features to reduce its radar cross-section, including angled surfaces and edges, serrated edges, and a reduced number of external sensors and weapons.

What avionics does the KF-21 have?

The KF-21’s avionics suite includes a wide range of systems such as a digital flight control system, mission computer, and a state-of-the-art active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Other avionics systems on the KF-21 include a helmet-mounted display (HMD) system, a data link system, and a defensive aids suite (DAS) that includes radar warning receivers (RWR) and chaff and flare dispensers.

Why Iris-T is lethal weapon?

iris-t missile
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Iris-T air-to-air missile is considered a lethal weapon due to its advanced technology and capabilities. It is a short-range, infrared-guided missile that can engage targets within visual range. The missile has high agility and maneuverability, allowing it to track and hit fast-moving targets such as fighter jets and helicopters.

The Iris-T missile is equipped with a highly sensitive infrared seeker that can detect and track the heat signature of a target. This makes it highly effective against targets that are difficult to detect with radar, such as low-flying aircraft or those with a small radar cross-section.

In addition to its advanced seeker technology, the Iris-T missile also has a proximity fuse that allows it to detonate near the target, increasing the likelihood of a successful hit. The missile is also capable of performing high-G maneuvers, making it difficult for the target to evade.


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