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[Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup] “The KF-21 fighter jet will be a key player in air defense that dominates future bat...

Minister Lee Jong-sup participates in ceremony to celebrate the successful first flight of KF-21

Expresses hope that the KF-21 will play significant role in deterring North Korean threat

ROK enters the leader group of the world aerospace industry

Today’s success is the outcome of the hard work of many people over the past 20 years

[Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup] “The K

On September 28, Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup emphasized that “the country’s homegrown Boramae fighter jet will be a key player in air defense that dominates future battlefields, and will play a great role in deterring North Korean threats.”


Lee made the remarks while participating in a ceremony to celebrate the successful first flight of the KF-21 Boramae fighter jet, held at the 3rd Flight Training Wing in Sacheon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do on Wednesday. Lee said that the ministry is working on building a strong military backed by AI science and technology by actively pushing forward with the ‘Defense Reform 4.0’ initiative based on advanced science and technology in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, and expressed his hopes for the KF-21 as part of the ministry’s work.


Intended to demonstrate the capability of the KF-21 to safely carry out its flight mission, including take-off and landing, in front of the whole nation, the Wednesday ceremony was attended by top military officials that included Chief of National Defense Committee Lee Hun-seung, Army Chief of Staff Park Jeong-hwan, Navy Chief of Staff Lee Jong-ho, Air Force Chief of Staff Jung Sang-hwa and Commander of the Marine Corps Kim Tae-seong, former Air Force chiefs of staff, Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration Eom Dong-hwan, an Indonesian government delegation that included Indonesian Deputy Defense Minister Muhammad Herindra, and officials from the companies participating in the development of the project. This is the first time a flight of a KF-21 with landing gears mounted was officially open to the press and to the public.


“Today is the day the ROK enters the group of nations leading the world's aerospace industry, and takes another step towards becoming a nation that develops advanced fighter jets. Finally, the hard work of many people in the twenty years since the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s requirement decision in 2002 has come to fruition,” Lee said, in his remarks of encouragement.


Lee also expressed gratitude to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the Air Force, related companies, academia and research institutes that have dedicated themselves to the development of the KF-21 fighter jet, and delivered welcoming messages to the officials from Indonesia, a partner country in the KF-21 project.


“The KF-21 project is our largest national project, with over 8 trillion won allocated to the development cost. Given the mass production and export in the future, it will have greater ripple effects on the domestic industry and economy,” Lee said. “Thanks to the domestically developed fighter jet, our country has built an independent platform of fighter jets and will be able to flexibly mount and operate various weapons systems, as well as achieve the desired performance improvement. Due to the easier follow-up logistics support, the KF-21 will be able to guarantee a higher operational capacity with low maintenance appropriation,” he added, explaining the significance of a domestically developed fighter jet.


Lee called on the officials to devote themselves to successfully completing the KF-21 project and expressed the ministry’s will to provide support as best it can, emphasizing that “our Korean Fighter-21 Boramae is expected to firmly defend the skies of the ROK.”


Meanwhile, KF-21 has completed its first test flight to examine its structural integrity and is working on the test to extend the flight area. The other five prototypes of the KF-21 will be deployed to test flights starting this October. The system’s development will be completed in 2026 after conducting around 2000 test flights, and the Air Force will conduct force integration on the system from 2026 until 2032.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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