The Republic of Korea has a significant defense industry. This week he has shown the track tests of one of his most cutting-edge projects.
The KAI KF-21 Boramae (Young Falcon, in Korean) is an aircraft built in South Korea by Korea Aerospace Industries and designed by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) of that country. It is an alternative (half) to the F-35 Lightning II, with which it bears a great resemblance, at least in appearance.
The official presentation of the aircraft was made in April of last year, and a static presentation on the runway was made in December. The main differences to highlight between the F-35 and the KF-21 is that the Korean plane has two engines instead of one (a success, in my opinion) and it will not carry its weapons in internal warehouses, but in external supports, at least initially, since it has not been ruled out that these warehouses are introduced later. On the other hand, the KF-21 is somewhat larger than the F-35, both in fuselage length and wingspan, something that the Republic of Korea Air Force required, along with the dual powerplant.
Due to its current design, the South Korean fighter will not be exactly a 5th generation aircraft, but rather the intermediate 4.5 generation, in which some classify aircraft such as the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which are not stealth aircraft but do have some capabilities to reduce their radar signature. If gun bays are introduced to the KF-21 in the future, it is possible that it could be considered a proper 5th generation fighter.
The KF-21 is powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400K engines, a variant of the engine type found in the Super Hornet and the Swedish Saab JAS-39E Gripen fighter. At the moment, its unit cost is unknown. The Republic of Korea Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force are the potential buyers of the KF-21, at least for now. Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea Navy has opted to purchase 20 F-35s, part of which will be shipped on the new CVX aircraft carrier being built by the country.
Here you can see two videos published in the last hours about the KF-21 runway tests. The first has been released by the Republic of Korea Air Force:
The second video has been published by Korea Aerospace Industries:
The KF-21 is scheduled to make its maiden flight later this month. Then we will begin to have more data on its benefits. The Republic of Korea Air Force is scheduled to receive the first 40 units of this aircraft in 2028. The KF-21 could become a cheaper alternative to the F-35 for many countries that cannot afford the high cost of this 5th generation fighter.
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