Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled the first prototype of KF-X fighter jet as final assembly began.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled the first prototype of multirole fighter “Korean Fighter eXperimental” (KF-X) that was announced by South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on September 3.
DAPA said in a statement that the company had begun the final assembly of the prototype aircraft’s fuselage sections and wings at its facility in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and would be rolled out in the first half of next year, as planned. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) had previously stated that the twin-engine aircraft, development of which began in 2015 for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF), would be unveiled to the public in April 2021. The multirole fighter KF-X, a $7.4 billion project, is designed and built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). Indonesia has an agreement to pay %20 of the cost with Korea. In response to this, Indonesia get the rights to produce a prototype and the jet. The estimated unit cost of the jet is expected to be $50-60 million.
KF-X Multirole fighter jet
KF-X (Korean Fighter-eXperimental) developed by KAI for Republic of Korea Air Forces and Indonesian Air Forces, is a 4.5 generation multirole fighter jet. The first test flight of multirole fighter jet KF-X is anticipated in 2022, and the first jet is planned to be in service by 2025. KF-X is expected to replace the Republic of Korea Air Force’s fleet of ageing F-4 and F-5. Mass production of the fighter jet is expected to start in 2023, and it is planned that the first production will be delivered to RoKAF. KAI is expected to produce 120 fighter jets by 2032. KF-X is expected to reach a top speed of about 1,400 mph (or about Mach 1.83), have a range of about 2,900 km, a maximum take-off weight of 25,580 kg, and be capable of carrying up to 7,700 kg of payload.
Cockpit and Avionics
The single-seat and double-seat (tandem) cockpit configurations of the KF-X multi-roll fighter jet will be equipped with a Texstars-supplied bird-proof canopy and windshields. KF-X jet will also be equipped with Elta Systems Active electronically scanned array (AESA), Infrared search and track (IRST), electro-optic (E/O), Electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), and radio frequency (RF) jammer.
Weapon and Ammunitions
The multirole jet KF-X will be equipped with Cobham’s air-to-air Missile Eject Launcher (MEL) to carry out the missile air-to-air and fire. The missile eject launchers will allow weapons carriage on store stations within bomb bays, conformal stations or traditional wing pylon stations. The aircraft will be able to safely launch Meteor or AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. The aircraft will also carry Harris Corporation’s BRU-47 and BRU-57 release systems. The BRU-57 dual Smart Munition Release System enables to carry bombs up to 2,000lbs class and is found on F-16s flying worldwide. It is also capable of carrying 1,000lbs and 500lbs JDAM family of munitions. The BRU-47 single store carrier to be fitted on the KF-X is similar to that used on the F-15E.
The aircraft will be powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines equipped with full-authority digital electronic control (FADEC) systems. Each engine will develop a maximum thrust of 22,000lb (98kN). The local production, integration and installation of the engines will be handled by Hanwha Techwin, through a technical co-operation agreement with GE Aviation.