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KF-21 Boramae Successfully Conducts First Flight

Yulian Ardiansyah - : Jul 21, 2022 - : 5:44 pm

South Korea successfully concluded the first flight of the KF-21 Boramae, its first indigenous 4.5th generation fighter jet, on Wednesday (19 July). The aircraft took off from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) facility at Sacheon airbase at 3:40 p.m. and returned there at 4:13 p.m for a total flight time of 33 minutes.

Flown by Major Ahn Jun-hyun, an officer of the Republic Of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and KAI test pilot, Images and videos of its first flight showed the aircraft carrying four Meteor air-to-air missile mock-ups in the semi-recessed, under-belly mount points. According to a DAPA official, this was done to gauge the basic flight performance since the prototype has no special avionics and weapon control systems installed onboard.

The first KF-21 prototype will be followed by five others to conduct various flight and electronic tests, as well as weapon integration and testing until 2026. It is expected that the aircraft will enter mass production shortly after.

The first flight marked another milestone for the project which took almost seven years and cost US$6.67 billion to develop of which 18.8% of its development cost is shared by Indonesia. South Korea is planning to build 120 KF-21 for the ROKAF while Indonesia is said to acquire up to 50 of the Indonesian version of the aircraft.

Indonesia initially agreed to shoulder 20% of the KF-21 development cost when the country joined the project in 2014. However, after Indonesia failed to meet the deadline for its share of the payment in 2017, the Indonesian government requested renegotiation with South Korea in 2020 which resulted in the reduction of its share to 18.8%. 

However, while Indonesia has reaffirmed its commitment and has allocated the funds to fulfill its obligation to the project in September 2021, it appears that it has yet materialized which raised concerns and protests from South Korean media and defense enthusiasts.


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