SEOUL, (BM) – South Korea’s long-awaited 4++ generation multi-role fighter is ready. The prototype of the KF-21 Boramae fighter was presented at an official ceremony at the headquarters of the Korean company Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in Sachon, South Gyeongsang Province.
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On April 9, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said: “A new era in self-defense has come, and we have set a historical milestone in the progress of our aviation industry. I also express sincere gratitude to the Indonesian government for having trust in Korea’s capability and become a partner in this co-development project. Until the development is complete and the two countries are ready for mass production to make forays into third-country markets, Korea and Indonesia will work together.”
KF-21 Boramae is a vital project for the South Korean industry. Several tests, both on the ground and in the air, are expected over the next 24 months. KF-21 Boramae will become a primary weapon of the South Korean Air Force. After testing and launching series production, the KF-21 Boramae will fly next to the F-15, F-16, and F-35 and should gradually become a leading fighter, following the future updates it will receive.
South Korea will develop a single-seater and two-seater version of its next-generation twin-engine fighter.
The role of Indonesia
Cooperation between South Korea and Indonesia in the development of KF-21 Boramae is essential for both industries. The good relations between the countries will allow them to have a modern next-generation fighter in the future.
Indonesia is investing approximately $ 1.5 billion, representing 20% of the total investment in the project. Jakarta expects to receive in return 50 KF-21 Boramae fighters, as well as technology transfer. It seems that in the foreseeable future, the star of Indonesia will rise in the sky of the military aircraft manufacturers.
What is KF-21 Boramae for the South Korean economy?
According to preliminary information, South Korea should receive about 40 KF-21 by 2028 and another 120 by 2032. After completing the tests in the next at least two years, South Korea becomes the eighth country in the world to develop a fighter from the next generation at the local level.
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But the fighter is not just good news for the Korean defense. 719 South Korean companies participated in this project. Thirty thousand parts, or 65% of the fighter, are manufactured in South Korea. It expects that in the coming years, the KF-21 fighter will significantly change the country’s economy. According to preliminary information from the Program Administration, the percentage of parts produced in South Korea will increase.
In recent years, the KF-21 has created 12,000 jobs and expects to do another 100,000 new jobs once it goes into mass production. The fighter intends to add about $ 5.4 billion to the country in the coming years.
What will the fighter be armed with?
In August last year, South Korea unveiled a prototype radar of its design, equipped with an active phased array antenna. The radar is known to have been developed by Hanwha Systems and the Korean Defense Development Agency (ADD) since 2016.
According to South Korean officials, the radar will begin to undergo ground tests, and a test installation of the product on the KF-21 prototype is planned. Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, is participating in the test program.
There are still few details about AESA radar, which officials describe as “a modern system capable of detecting and tracking more than 1,000 targets simultaneously.” We previously reported that the radar station would include approximately 1,000 transceiver modules.
According to Jane’s, the fighter will have guided air bombs on the Raytheon GBU-12 “Paveway II.” The fighter also expects to receive GBU-39 low-precision bombs, GBU-31/38 sets of GPS equipment (JDAM) equipment of Boeing adjustable bombs, GBU-54/56 laser guidance systems, and flight correction modules CBU-105 on Textron.
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