South Korea to integrate MBDA’s Meteor missile onto KF-X fighter aircraft

MBDA has been awarded a contract from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the integration of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile onto the KF-X future Korean fighter aircraft.

South Korea to integrate MBDAs Meteor missile onto KF X fighter aircraft 01 KF-X mock-up showcased at ADEX 2019 (Picture source: Chen Chuanren)

The KAI KF-X, also known as IA IF-X in Indonesia, is a joint South Korean and Indonesian fighter aircraft development program, intending to develop an advanced multirole fighter for the Republic of Korea Air Force and Indonesian Air Force. The initial operational requirements for the KF-X/IF-X program as stated by South Korea's Agency for Defence Development were to develop a single-seat, twin-engine jet with stealth capabilities beyond both the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, but not as stealthy as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Powered by two GE Aviation F414 engines, the KF-X will conduct its debut sortie in the first half of 2022, with operational deployment planned for 2026.

Meteor is the world's most advanced air-to-air missile and has a unique ramjet propulsion system that allows it to fly further and faster than any other air-to-air missile  allowing it to defeat manoeuvring targets even at extreme ranges.

The contract includes integration support to KAI, transfer of know-how and manufacture of test equipment for the KF-X integration and trials campaign.

South Korea to integrate MBDAs Meteor missile onto KF X fighter aircraft 02 Meteor air-to-air missile (Picture source: MBDA)

Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “We’re very pleased to mark this next and important step in our partnership with KAI and the Korean Defence Acquisition Program Administration. South Korea is a strategic market for MBDA, and we’re proud that Meteor will be providing KF-X with the world’s most potent air-to-air capability.”