South Korean aerospace giant KAI is moving forward with its aircraft development program as it aims to produce an advanced indigenous multirole fighter for the Republic of Korea Air Force.
The company recently passed an important milestone marking the start of the final assembly process of the first fighter aircraft in Sacheon, South Korea, in which electronics, radar and various other subsystems will be installed. (Read: The South Korean-Indonesia project fighter jet supplied by GE Aviation engines)
The fighter jets are expected to be officially launched in April 2021. The first test flights are expected to take place in 2022, with mass production scheduled to start in 2028. South Korea expects to put 120 of these aircraft into military service by 2032.
The fighters will replace South Korea’s aging McDonnell Douglas F-4D / E Phantom IIs and Northrop F-5E / F Tiger II.
Citing reports Korea Aero, Friday (4/9/2020), as many as six prototypes will be built to undergo testing until the KF-X production model starts operating in 2026. (Read: Developed by Indonesia-South Korea, this is a mock-up of the KF-X / IF-X fighter jet)
The KF-X is a 4.5 generation fighter jet with future plans for fifth generation conversion. It already has the space allocated for internal weapons bay (internal weapon bays) and software development reflect that.
In June, GE Aviation delivered the first F414 engine for the twin-engine jet. GE will deliver an additional 15 F414s to power six prototypes, one of which will be provided to its program partner, Indonesia. Hanwha Aerospace will license the F414 locally. (Also read: Great! Indonesian Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft can shoot 4 targets at once without seeing)