South Korea unveils full-size mock up of KF-X fighter aircraft

The full size mock up of the KF-X fighter as displayed during Seoul ADEX 2019. Photo c/o AIN Online.

As part of the ongoing Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2019, South Korean aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled a full-size mock-up of the KF-X fighter, while also releasing some new details on the aircraft.

Information released by KAI mentioned that the aircraft will have a range of 2,900 kilometers, a maximum take-off weight of around 25.6 tons, and a maximum payload of 7.7 tons. It will have 10 weapons stations and is to be integrated to allow the use of MBDA Meteor and Diehl IRIS-T ait-to-air missiles. It will also have an M61 Vulcan 20mm gatling gun mounted internally.

It will have a 8” x 20” glass touchscreen cockpit display, while South Korean company LIGNex1 will produce several equipment including the heads-up display, electronic countermeasures, and communication systems. It will also feature a local datalink also from LIGNex1 while development to allow NATO-standard datalinks like the Link 16 will continue even after the first production models come out.

Hanwha Defense will provide a license-built F414 turbofan engine from General Electric, and will also manufacture the control actuators, landing gears, and other equipment. Hanwha will also provide the aircraft’s infrared search and track system, and an AESA radar co-developed with Israel’s Elta Systems with a 110-kilometer range. 

KAI will produce the KF-X in its facility in Sacheon, and is expected to have a working prototype by early 2021, conduct the first flight by 2022, and start serial production by 2026.

Despite issues regarding financing, the Indonesian government through its state-owned aviation company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) continues to be a minor partner in the KF-X program. Originally Indonesia was supposed to cover 20% of the KF-X program’s development cost, but is now trying to renegotiate on its financial commitments with fellow partners KAI and the South Korean government who committed to pay for 20% and 60% of the costs, respectively.

[1] Air International Online
[2] Jane’s Defence Weekly

South Korea unveils full-size mock up of KF-X fighter aircraft South Korea unveils full-size mock up of KF-X fighter aircraft Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on October 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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