South Korea Aims High With Its First Locally-Made Next-Gen Supersonic Fighter Jet

South Korea has big plans for its national aerospace industry, and the KF-21 is its most ambitious project 7 photos
Photo: Korea Aerospace Industries
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South Korea is gearing up to become a major player in the aerospace industry. Not only has it unveiled its first locally-made supersonic fighter jet, but it’s also in the process of developing other advanced military aircraft, as well as a second-generation satellite.
South Korea is taking huge steps towards becoming a key global player in terms of defense and space-related development: a fifth-generation fighter jet, a new generation fully-electric trainer jet, plus the country’s first private center, which has developed a launch vehicle and a satellite.

The KF-21 Boramae (Korean for “Young Hawk”) is the most prominent of these projects. Korea’s first fighter jet designed and developed locally is the most advanced military aircraft ever made and the most expensive military project in its history – Korea JoongAng Daily reported that the country spent $7.8 million (8.5 trillion won) for its development. Indonesia also contributed to that, as this is a joint project between the two nations.

The KF-21 Boramae prototype was unveiled earlier this year and is being showcased at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 2021 (ADEX 2021), held between October 19 and 23.. Developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the KF-21 is a supersonic fighter jet that’s 55 feet (16.9 meters) long, with a supersonic speed (1,400 mph/2,250 kph) and a maximum thrust of 44,000 lbs (20,000 kg).

Korea’s fifth-generation fighter integrates cutting-edge avionics, a powerful Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, infrared search-and-track features, electro-optical targeting pods, and an electronic weapon suite. An additional benefit of owning a locally-produced fighter jet is a steady supply, plus easier maintenance, as parts can be replaced at any time.

This impressive military jet will replace Korea’s “aging” McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and Northrop F-5 fighter jets. It will also be supported by the new Sorigae (“Black Kite”), a fully electric trainer that boasts a highly advanced dual command cockpit, which will enable training operations compatible with next-generation fighter jets.

The KF-21’s first flight is scheduled for 2022.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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