SEOUL, (BM) – South Korean company Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) published a photo of a partially assembled fuselage of the first flight prototype of the promising KF-X fighter, which has been developed in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic since 2016, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
According to N + 1, the company plans to complete the assembly of the aircraft and roll it out in April 2021. The first flight may take place in 2022.
The South Korean War Department classifies the promising KF-X fighter as a “4.5” generation combat aircraft. Work on its creation began in 2016. In October 2019, Korea Aerospace Industries first introduced the full-size KF-X mockup at ADEX in Seoul.
In total, Seoul plans to spend over $ 7 billion on the development of a new fighter. As partners, the program involved the American corporation Lockheed Martin and the Indonesian company PT Dirgantara.
In the period from 2026 to 2032, the Ministry of Defense of South Korea intends to purchase 120 KF-X aircraft. As part of the national air force, they will replace the obsolete F-4 Phantom-2 and F-5 Freedom Fighter / Tiger-2 fighter-bombers.
KF-X fighter is created in single and double versions. The length of the aircraft will be 16.9 meters, wingspan – 11.2 meters, height – 4.7 meters. The maximum take-off mass of the fighter will be 25.4 tons.
The aircraft will be able to fly at speeds up to 1.9 Mach numbers (2328 km / h). The promising fighter will receive 10 suspension points for missiles, bombs and various containers.
Seoul chose the weapons for its own fifth-gen KF-X fighter jet
In South Korea, the selection process for high-precision munitions and guidance kits for equipping the promising multi-purpose fighter KF-X (Korean Fighter eXperimental) has completed as we reported on June 2.
According to the Jane’s interlocutors, Raytheon’s guided aerial bombs GBU-12 “Paveway II” are going to be integrated into the armament and equipment of the new aircraft, GBU-39 small-precision bombs, GBU-31/38 GPS equipment kits ( JDAM) to equip Boeing’s adjustable bombs, GBU-54/56 laser guidance systems, and Textron’s CBU-105 flight correction modules.
Jane’s sources say that the process of integration into the equipment of the KF-X fighter high-precision bombs and guidance systems that are already used by the South Korean Air Force will begin at the end of this year and should be completed in the next 6-7 years.
Earlier, in November 2019, the European company MBDA signed a contract to include air-to-air missiles with a range of over 37 km in the KF-X armament. In addition, it is planned that the German Diehl Defense will equip the aircraft with an IRIS-T short-range missile. The relevant contract, according to Jane’s, the parties will sign in the near future.
Israel’s Elbit Systems terrain and collision avoidance (TF / TA) systems will also be installed on the newest fighter: a Haifa-based company signed a contract with Hanwha Systems in South Korea in February to develop an active phased array radar for the KF-X.
The KF-X program started at the end of January 2016. In total, it is planned to spend 8.8 trillion won (about $ 7.7 billion) on the creation of the aircraft. The South Korean military classifies this aircraft as the “4.5” generation, noting that in terms of combat capabilities it should be superior to the French Rafal fighter and the European Typhoon.
Korea Aerospace Industries for the first time demonstrated a full-size model of the promising KF-X fighter at the ADEX exhibition in Seoul in October 2019. The rollout of the new fighter is scheduled for early 2021, the first flight – at the beginning of 2022.
Seoul unveiled the KF-X fighter last year on domestic International aerospace exhibition
On the international aerospace exhibition in Seoul, South Korean manufacturers have introduced full-size mock-looking aircraft as we reported last October.
Particular attention has attracted a full-size mock-up of the fifth generation of South Korean fighter, designated by the name of the program – KF-X.
It may be noted that the layout perspective combat vehicle, which in the future plan to the Air Force of the Republic of Korea, is a kind of combination of the American version of the F-22 and F-35. We visited the exhibition called the plane “a clone of US fighters.”
Moreover, its size is somewhat smaller than that of American fighters. For example, if the length of the F-35 is more than 15 meters, then presented in Seoul at the exhibition layout (and the producers insist that it is a full-size) has a length of 13.45 cm.
The program is implemented in co-operation of South Korean manufacturers and their Indonesian partners. In this case, the main technological capacity to create the fifth-generation fighter is promising to Korea.
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