South Korea's new KAI KF-X fighter to roll out in a month

KAI KFX roll out
First prototype of new South Korean KF-X fighter being assembled at KAI production plant.

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has released new images showing the assembly line of the 4.5-generation KAI KF-X fighter. They were published following the recent visit by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Seong-yong to the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) manufacturing facility.

There are currently three prototypes of the aircraft being assembled, a fourth prototype will be built in mid-2022 while the fifth will be manufactured by Indonesian Aerospace, should Indonesia remain in the project.

The first prototype of the KF-X '001' is approximately 92% assembled and will roll-out in April. Its first flight is expected to take place in July 2022. Two more prototypes will be completed later this year, with the remaining three next year. The KF-X will receive the same dark gray color as the ROKAF F-15K.

The development of the KF-X began in late 2015, while the assembly process in 2019, one year after the end of the critical design review (CDR). The KF-X will operate alongside the most advanced F-35A in the ROKAF fleet. ROKAF is expected to receive 40 units in 2028 and an additional 80 in 2032.

According to KAI, the aircraft was designed to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.81, with a range of 2,900 kilometers. The fighter features 10 hardpoints for weapons and additional fuel tanks for a maximum payload of 7,700 kilograms. It can carry various types of air-to-air missiles, such as the IRIS-T and MBDA's radar-guided active Meteor missiles.

KAI KFX roll out

KAI KFX roll out

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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