South Korea unveils KF-X fighter prototype, renamed KF-21 Boramae

South Korea has officially unveiled a prototype of its indigenously-built KF-X fighter during a ceremony held at the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) manufacturing plant in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.

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South Korea unveils KF X fighter prototype renamed KF 21 Boramae The fighter jet, previously known as "KF-X fighter" was officially  presented as “KF-21 Boramae"  (Picture source: Cheong Wa Dae)

The fighter jet, previously known as "KF-X fighter" was officially  presented as “KF-21 Boramae".  

Speaking at the roll-out ceremony, President Moon Jae-in said that the combat jet will go into full-fledged production as soon as it completes ground and air tests. "We plan to deploy 40 jets by 2028 and a total of 120 by 2032," the president added.

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.

The maiden flight is scheduled in July 2022, after tests on the ground. When KF-21 Boramae successfully completes its test flights, Korea will become the 13th country in the world to indigenously develop a fighter jet.