South Korean fourth-generation fighter KF-21 makes first test flight
Seoul, Jul 19 (EFE).- The South Korean KF-21 Boramae fighter successfully carried out its first test flight Tuesday after more than six years in development, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
The test flight, which lasted about 33 minutes, was carried out in Sacheon, about 300 kilometers south of Seoul, according to a DAPA statement.
South Korea’s plan to produce a 4.5-generation supersonic fighter jet has been fraught with skepticism for years due to its cost of SKW 8.8 trillion (more than $6.7 billion) and its lack of key United States technology patents.
Indonesia has also participated in the project, although Jakarta has incurred in defaults and this leaves doubts about the viability of its financing.
The idea of developing an indigenous South Korean fighter to replace the obsolete F-4 and F-5 was approved in 2013 and two years later Washington refused to transfer four technologies that had to be developed by South Korean companies.
The device, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries and Indonesian Aerospace, has finally had infrared search and tracking and electro-optical guidance capsule systems developed by Hanhwa Systems, in charge of producing the active electronically scanned array radar system.
LIG Nex1, one of the main defense contractors in the country together with Hanhwa, is in charge of the electronic warfare systems, which includes the fourth of the systems that the US did not want to transfer, that of radio frequency inhibition.
Prototypes of the plane, slated to be called the F-33 in Indonesia and to carry European air-to-air missiles from MBDA and Diehl, will continue to undergo flight tests until 2026, when the first units will begin production.
Seoul wants to integrate the KF-21 into its air response system in the event of a North Korean attack, which already includes F-15 and F-35 fighters. EFE