A Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) pilot was forced to eject from his KF-16 fighter during a takeoff run on June 8, 2021. As a result, the whole KF-16 fleet was grounded.
The KF-16 belonged to the 20th Fighter Wing. The incident took place at Seosan Air Base (HMY) in western South Korea. During the takeoff run, the pilot detected unspecified problems with his aircraft and chose to eject. The fighter jet sustained damages but the pilot was uninjured.
“The Air Force immediately halted the operations of all types of military aircraft, and formed an investigation team to learn the exact cause of the accident,” an official told the Yonhap news agency.
Acquired in the 1990s, the KF-16 multi-role fighter jet is an F-16C/D specially adapted to the needs of the Republic of Korea Air Force and partly assembled under license by Samsung Aerospace, now part of Korea Aerospace Industries. In 2016, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.2 billion contract to modernize the KF-16 fleet.
In April 2021, South Korean President Moon Jae-in unveiled the country’s first domestically developed fighter, the KF-21 Boramae fifth-generation fighter jet, birthed from the KF-X program.