South Korean Firm Reveals All Electric Basic Trainer For New Air Force Recruits

KAI Black Kite 6 photos
Photo: Korean Aerospace Industries
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You’d expect a fighter plane, even one meant for training, to sport an engine that roars in every direction for miles as it passes overhead. As Korean Aerospace Industries just proved (KAI, not Kia), times are changing just as much in the air as they are on the tarmac.
At the Seoul International Aero Space and Defense Exhibition 2021 at an airbase just south of Seoul, KAI unveiled the prototype for an all-electric twin-seater training aircraft that the firm hopes will train the next generation of South Korean fighter pilots. Dubbed the Black Kite, the innovative new aircraft looks almost nothing like fighter trainers we’ve seen before.

KAI’s new design incorporates a lightweight and aerodynamic fuselage with 11.2 meter long (36.75 foot) wings mounded low down on the bottom of the undercarriage. Four quad-bladed propellers mounted on the top side of the wings will propel the EV aircraft down the runway and into the air. Further details of the specifics of the electric motors have yet to be announced.

What is known is that together, the motors will produce at least 1,600 horsepower. Putting the Black Kite in line with power numbers similar to those seen in World War Two piston engines, like the Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 found in the Spitfire and the P-51 Mustang.

That engine produced between 1,300 and 1,600 horsepower depending on the particular model. The key difference is, the KAI Black Kite will make that power without polluting the atmosphere even slightly. You certainly can’t say the same about the Merlin.

has supplied the South Korean Air Force with their current KT-1 basic trainer alongside the T50 supersonic trainer jet since the early 2000s. With the addition of the Black kite to the family, it’s safe to say KAI has South Korean airmen covered from the first day of basic up until their first combat deployment.
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