Support from the USA: South Korea presents its own fighter jet

Support from the USA
South Korea presents its own fighter jet

South Korea is making headway in developing a fighter jet. The first test flights are to take place next year with the newly presented prototype. The government hopes that the jets will be an export hit.

After around four years of development, South Korea has presented the prototype of a new fighter aircraft made locally. The goal is to deliver 40 jets under the name KF-21 Boramae by 2028 and 120 jets by 2032, said South Korea’s President Moon Jae In at a ceremony on the premises of the aircraft manufacturer Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) in the city of Dingon in the south of the country. Production will begin as soon as the test flights are completed. According to KAI, the first test flight is planned for the coming year.

KAI started development in December 2015 and received support from its American partner, the armaments company Lockheed Martin. The South Korean Air Force wants to use the new aircraft to replace older F-4 and F-5 fighter jets, among other things. South Korea also hopes to export the new jet.

The Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto also took part in the ceremony. Indonesia is an official partner in the 8.8 trillion won (6.6 billion euros) fighter jet program originally known as KF-X.

Recently, however, there were doubts in South Korea about the determination of the Southeast Asian country to continue participating in the project. The Jakarta government had stopped paying an agreed share of 20 percent of the development costs. However, Moon stressed that both countries would continue to work together until the end of development and building a production system in order to be able to sell the jet to third countries.