ajunews Saturday,2 March 2024

​S. Korea succeeds in test flight of every homemade fighter jet KF-21 prototypes

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : June 29, 2023, 17:40 Updated : February 25, 2024, 01:37

[Courtesy of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration]

SEOUL -- South Korea successfully carried out a test flight for the last prototype model of South Korea's homemade fighter jet KF-21 about eleven months after the first prototype model made its 33-minute test flight in July 2022. South Korea has tested a total of six prototypes in a bid to replace the country's aging fleet of U.S.-made F-4 and F-5 fighters.
 
According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the sixth prototype took off from the airbase at 3:49 a.m. (0649 GMT) and flew for 33 minutes on June 28 at Sacheon, the home base of domestic aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The two-seater flight would be later used to test various functions such as supersonic flight capabilities and active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars capable of detecting a target object and collecting information such as distance and speed to the target area.
 
Among six prototypes, only the fourth and sixth aircraft are two-seater types. DAPA said the space of the internal fuel tank was slightly changed for the fourth one as one more cockpit was added near the front part of the aircraft's main body.
 
According to specifications outlined by KAI, the fighter's maximum speed is Mach 1.81 with its range standing at 2,900 kilometers. South Korea aims to manufacture 120 new fighter jets through the KF-21 project. About 8.8 trillion won ($6.6 billion) would be injected by 2028. 
 
The project, led by KAI, started in 2010 in collaboration with Indonesia to develop an advanced multi-role fighter jet. Initially, Indonesia agreed to pay about 1.6 trillion won by 2026 in exchange for a number of fighter planes to be manufactured in the Southeast Asian nation with technology transfers. However, the country only paid 280 billion won as of June 28.
 
At a media briefing held in Seoul in February 2023, Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea Gandi Sulistiyanto said his government will continue to take part in the joint project. The envoy has not disclosed when exactly Indonesia would complete the payment.  

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