SEOUL ($1=1,284.78 South Korean Wons) — The KF-21 Boramae, developed by KAI and South Korea’s next-generation stealth fighter jet, ignited its engine for the first time in ground tests. South Korea’s next-generation KF-21 Boramae fighter is ready to take off. According to sources, the KF-21 fighter will make its first flight in the last weeks of July. Almost 90% of the ground tests were completed before the first flight of the fighter.
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The first engine ignition test, performed yesterday [June 27th], was also a turning point for the KF-21. An important part of the ground tests for the KF-21, which has 2 F414 engines manufactured by General Electric, was the integration activities of the F414 engine. The engine test consists of a series of tests to ensure that the thrust is produced correctly and that the engine will run at its own power. The engines of the KF-21 are also equipped with additional special fire protection devices.
The development of the KF-21 took a total of 11 years. At the end of the engine test, one of the most important thresholds is exceeded. A major pilot of the South Korean Air Force has been appointed for the first flight of the KF-21 aircraft. After making its first flight this month, flight tests are expected to continue with prototypes until 2026. The KF-21 currently has a single-seater version called the Boramae and a two-seater version called the Hawk.
Following these versions, the production of a more modern KF-21 is planned as part of the FAZ-2 operation. Its goal is to produce a total of 40 KF-21 aircraft by 2028 and a total of 120 by 2032. It is planned that the KF-21 aircraft will replace the F-5E / F Tiger and KF-16 aircraft held by the Korean Air Force.
The Korean authorities state that 65% of the aircraft are manufactured with products originating in South Korea, and the rest of the equipment is imported from various countries.
The KF-21, a 4.5 generation fighter, is expected to fly at a top speed of Mach 1.81, a range of 2,900 km, and a weight of 7,700 kg. The fighter will contain 10 rocket stations and fuel tanks. It will also be able to carry various air-to-air missiles such as the IRIS-T and Meteor.
The total value of the project is 5.9 trillion won [$5.2 billion]. In a speech at the KF-21 launch ceremony at the Korea Aerospace Industry facility in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said: “Now a new era in our independent defense is beginning and it is a historic milestone in the development of the South Korean aviation industry.”
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