SEOUL, (BM) – In recent months, South Korea has been working hard to manufacture and build the first fifth-generation fighter produced entirely by the South Korean defense industry, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
The KF-X is the South Korean prototype of the fifth generation fighter, and according to the Seoul Defense Industry Program Agency, the production line of this fighter is running at full capacity and has started production of the first prototype. This information was also reported by the official authorities in Seoul.
Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is the manufacturer of the aircraft and, as we have repeatedly mentioned, it is expected to be completed in 2021, by the end of 2026 to complete all possible tests. So far, according to official information provided by the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the state has invested approximately $ 7.3 billion, and funding continues.
South Korea will be the next country on the map of countries that produce their own fifth-generation fighters. We know that the leaders so far are the United States with their F-35s and F-22s, as well as the fact that Washington is already working hard on a sixth-generation fighter project. Backwards and at a slower pace, Russia is doing the same, while China has already launched two fifth-generation fighters, but the difference is largely in the crew needed to fly them.
Turkey and Europe are also developing their own version of fighters of the same class, but they are significantly behind. It turns out that South Korea will be the next country to show the world its plane.
According to information from the KAI, the South Korean fighter will be in two versions – one-seater and two-seater, as in China. The aircraft will be 16.9 meters long and the wingspan 11.2 meters. The height is expected to be about 4.7 meters and the maximum weight – nearly 25 tons.
The initial technical characteristics suggest that the KF-X will fly at close to Mach 2 and will receive 10 points for the suspension of equipment – missiles, bombs, outboard containers and more.
If all goes according to plan, the South Korean forces will acquire nearly 120 units of the new fighter by mid-2032. Of course, by then other military forces would have sixth-generation aircraft, but KF-X will be the basis for Seoul to begin in the next 5 years to work in this direction as well.
In both the United States and South Korea, the development of this fighter is carried out according to the American scheme – Block 1, Bock 2, etc. According to preliminary planning, Block 1 will be produced until 2028, and Block 2 will enter the South Korean military next year – 2029, and this model will not be limited in its combat capabilities, at the expense of Bock 1.
According to South Korean scientists, the radar system or radar station will be an active phased array, which we announced nearly a month ago. It will again be the work of a South Korean company – Hanwha Systems.
Korea showed a radar capable of tracking more than 1000 targets simultaneously
As we reported on August 8 South Korea has presented a prototype radar of its own design, equipped with an active phased array antenna.
It is known that the radar has been developed by Hanwha Systems and the Korean Defense Development Agency (ADD) since 2016. The presentation of the product took place on August 7.
According to South Korean officials, the radar will soon begin to undergo ground tests, in addition, a test installation of the product on the KF-X prototype is planned. Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, will take part in the test program.
There are still few details about AESA’s radar, which officials describe as “a state-of-the-art system capable of detecting and tracking over 1,000 targets simultaneously.” Earlier it was reported that the radar station will include approximately 1000 transceiver modules.
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.
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