Final KF-21 Jet Prototype Makes Flight

  • Bureau
  • 12:17 PM, June 28, 2023
  • 521
Final KF-21 Jet Prototype Makes Flight
KF-21 Boramae @KAI

The sixth and final prototype of South Korea's homegrown KF-21 Boramae combat jet performed its first flight, state arms procurement agency announced Wednesday.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said the two-seat prototype took off from the Air Force's 3rd Flying Training Wing in Sacheon, about 300km south of capital Seoul, at 3:49 p.m. on June 28 and completed a 33-minute flight.

South Korea launched the $6.74 billion (8.8 trillion-won) KF-21 project in 2015 to develop an advanced supersonic fighter intended to replace the country's aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 jets.

The KF-21 Boramae is designed to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.81, with a flying range of 2,900km. It will be equipped with advanced technologies, such as an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

First two prototypes performed their maiden flights last year while the remaining three flew for the first time this year. The prototypes are set to undergo a combined total of over 2,200 flight tests through the first half of 2026 before the first production model's planned delivery to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) later that year.

Only the fourth and sixth prototypes have two-seat cockpits. This variant will be used for pilot education and training missions.

The final prototype will undergo additional flight tests, such as those on avionics performance and armaments, and flight operation comparison against other single-seat prototypes.

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