Thursday, April 8, 2021

South Korea aims to price new KF-X fighter at US$65 million per unit

KF-X prototype nearing completion in preparation for rollout by April 2021. Photo c/o KAI.

South Korean aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is planning to set a competitive pricing for their upcoming new KF-X 4.5-generation stealth fighter to make it more marketable in the global fighter market.

According to KAI’s Chief Technology Officer Yoon Chong-ho, the company is aiming to bring down the unit price of the KF-X fighter to US$65 million, which is cheaper than current fighter aircraft available in the market.

This would be coupled with a minimal maintenance cost, allowing the KF-X a competitive edge in the global fighter export market.

In comparison, the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter from the US is priced higher than US$100 million, despite aiming to lower it to around US$80 million per unit. 

Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70/72 Viper, Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the new F-15EX Eagle, as well as European fighters like the Dassault Rafale and EF-2000 Eurofighter, are all currently priced higher than KF-X’s planned unit price.

KAI confirmed that development of the KF-X fighter was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to delays in delivery of key components from the US and Europe. But these have been remedied as of December 2020.

The company aims to roll-out its first flying prototype by April 2021 and start production for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) by 2026.

The KF-X, also known as the F-33 “Boramae” (Hawk) in South Korea, is expected to replace the ROKAF’s fleet of McDonnell Douglas F-4D/E Phantom II and Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II legacy fighters.

Korea Herald
[2] Defense Industry Daily

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