South Korean KF-21 Fighter Jet's All-important AESA Radar's Testing Begins

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  • 06:27 AM, March 4, 2023
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South Korean KF-21 Fighter Jet's All-important AESA Radar's Testing Begins
South Korean KF-21 fighter with AESA radar. Illustration @Hanwha systems

The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) launched a flight test today to verify the performance of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar mounted on a KF -21 fighter prototype.
The AESA radar for the KF-21 has been developed by DAPA and a group of South Korean companies led by Hanwha Systems.
The AESA radar electronically steers the radar beam by mounting about 1,000 small transmit/receive modules on the antenna and adjusting the phase of the radio wave. This is the most advanced form of radars for fighter jets developed so far.
The AESA radar was previously mounted on a test aircraft ( remodeled B-737 aircraft ) from November 2022 to February of `2023 , and development test evaluation for required performance was carried out , and a total of 18 tests were conducted for 25 test items in the air-to-air mode, DAPA said today in a statement.

South Korean KF-21 Fighter Jet's All-important AESA Radar's Testing Begins
KF-21's AESA radar close-up illustration

The flight test was conducted to meet all the required performance and development criteria, and this is the first time that a flight test has been carried out on the KF-21 fighter aircraft, the statement said.
Through 90 flights from March 2023 to February 2026, development and operational test evaluations will be conducted on 34 items such as maximum detection in air-to-air mode, tracking distance, and tracking accuracy to ensure validation of operational performance.
It is planned to check whether it satisfies the suitability for military operations, and the practicality of the force deployment support elements.

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