South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has lowered the development and manufacturing costs for the KF-21 fighter jet, reducing it by $0.4 million. 

The program, which has previously been estimated at $7.2 billion (8.6 trillion KRW), will now cost $6.8 billion (8.1 trillion KRW), Janes reports, referring to an unnamed source within the agency.  

The reduction in costs is a result of the KF-21 program being granted tax-exemption status, after being designated a ‘defense article’.  

South Korea’s main partner, Indonesia, will also see a reduction in costs for its own share in the program, which has been decreased to $1.35 billion (1.6 trillion KRW).  

The KF-21 Boramae, a result of the long-running KF-X development program, is a stealth fighter jet currently under development by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The aircraft has often been criticized for its high cost, a point that almost caused the program to be discarded on numerous occasions. 

Read more: Supersonic drama: the story of South Korea’s new fighter jet 

The program is a joint development between South Korea and Indonesia with the former contributing 80% of the funds, and the latter providing 20%. The division of responsibilities has been a subject of disagreement between the partners, and the dispute, which has been ongoing for several years, was recently resolved in November 2021.  

The rollout of the jet took place in April 2021. According to KAI, the maiden flight of the prototype is scheduled for 2022, and mass production will commence in 2026.