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Republic of Korea unveils next-generation Korean fighter jet (KF-X)

Republic of Korea unveils next-generation Korean fighter jet (KF-X)

KF-X mock-up first revealed to the press at Seoul ADEX

Maximum payload of 7700㎏ - equipped with various air-to-air and air-to-surface missilesOne of the greatest R&D projects since the nation’s foundation – Prototype 1 will be launched in the first half of next year

A homegrown next-generation Korean fighter jet (KF-X) for the future of Korean airspace protection was unveiled to the public for the first time. 

A mock-up of KF-X was revealed to the press at Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2019, which took place at Seoul Airport in Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province, on October 14.

The exterior was similar to an F-35A, the newest stealth fighter jet that was recently introduced by the military, but it also resembles the F-22 Raptor fighter jet as it has twin engines. Ten pods were installed on the bottom and wings of the jet where missiles and gas tanks can be mounted. 

Republic of Korea unveils next-generation Korean fighter 

According to the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) hosting the KF-X project, KF-X can carry up to 7700㎏ of armaments. “Each pod can carry short-range air-to-air missiles (IRIS-T), medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM), BLU-109 laser guided bombs (LJDAM) that can conduct pinpoint ground bombing, and air-to-surface missiles,” an official with the KAI said at the site. He added that the fighter jet can even carry the nation's Taurus long-range air-to-surface cruise missile, which is currently in development.

Specifications outlined by KAI showed that the fighter's maximum thrust is 44,000 pounds, its take-off weight is 25,600㎏, and its flying range is 2900㎞. Significantly, it features high mobility, with a maximum speed reaching Mach 1.8, faster than an F-35A (Mach 1.6). KAI plans to continuously strengthen the KF-X’s stealth function even after its development is finished.

A total of eight trillion and 830.4 billion won will be allocated for the KF-X project, which is said to be one of the most significant research and development projects in Republic of Korea's history. Its basic design phase started in January 2016 and ended last June. Prototype 1 will be launched in the first half of next year and the development phase will be finished in 2026. Considering the localization of parts, six fighter jets will be launched for the initial production.

By Su-Yeol, Maeng < >

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