Korean fighter project enters prototype production phase

Posted on : 2019-09-28 08:18 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
DAPA plans to complete development of indigenous Korean fighter aircraft by 2026
Jung Kwang-sun
Jung Kwang-sun

The Korean fighter (KFX) project, which involves developing a mainstay fighter aircraft for the South Korean Air Force using domestic technology, has entered the prototype production phrase.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on Sept. 26 that a recent critical design review (CDR) for the Korean fighter confirmed that production could begin on a prototype reflecting all of the military’s demands in its design. CDR is procedure for confirming whether the state of prototype production, system integration, and testing can begin within the scope of acceptable costs, scheduling, and risks. DAPA explained, “A review committee with Air Force and government representatives and civilian experts examined around 390 technical data and confirmed that the military’s demands are suitably reflected in the design.”

Supervised by Korea Aerospace Industries, the KF-X project was launched in January 2016. The basic design was completed in June of last year, with production of components currently under way based on a detailed design for the hardware and software. Ongoing improvements have been made to the shape based on wind tunnel testing, updating of key system models, and area-based design and analysis.

The first prototype is to be released in the first half of 2021. The current objective is to hold the first test flight during the first half of 2022 and to complete development by 2026. A mockup of the Korean fighter is to be shown next month at Seoul ADEX, an international aerospace and defense exhibition at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. The project has a total price tag of 8.8304 trillion won (US$7.35 billion) in development costs alone, with Indonesia taking part as a co-developer. 

By Yoo Kang-moon, senior staff writer

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