South Korea to finalize assembly of local-made KF-X fighter jet in the second half of this year

According to information released by the South Korean newspaper website "The Korea Herald", Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has announced on June 10, 2020, that it will finalize the assembly of its next-generation KF-X fighter jet in the second half of this year.

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South Korea to finalize assembly of local made KF X fighter jet in the second half of this year 925 001 Mockup of South Korean KF-X fighter aircraft at international aerospace and defense exhibition ADEX-2019. (Picture source BMPD livejournal)

KAI selected GE Aviation in May 2016 to supply the F414-GE-400K engines for the KF-X fighter. The multirole KF-X jet, a $7.4 billion project, is being designed and built by KAI.

The KAI KF-X is a joint South Korean and Indonesian fighter aircraft development program with the goal of producing an advanced multirole fighter for the South Korean and Indonesian air forces. The program is lead by South Korea, which holds 60% of shares. Indonesia joined in 2010 for 20%, and the remainder is held by private partners including manufacturer Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI).

The KF-X advanced multirole jet fighter project, intended to produce modern warplanes to replace South Korea's aging F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft, was first announced in March 2001 by South Korean President Kim Dae-jung at a graduation ceremony of the Korea Air Force Academy.

According to Air Force Technology website, the KF-X will be powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines equipped with full-authority digital electronic control (FADEC) systems. Each engine will develop a maximum thrust of 22,000lb (98kN).

The KF-X fighter will be armed with Cobham air-to-air missile eject launcher (MEL) for the carriage and launch of air-to-air missiles. It will also carry Harris Corporation’s BRU-47 and BRU-57 release systems. The BRU-57 dual Smart Munition Release System enables to carry bombs up to 2,000lbs class and is found on F-16s flying worldwide. It is also capable of carrying 1,000lbs and 500lbs JDAM family of munitions.