The sixth and final prototype of South Korea’s upcoming fighter jet, the KF-21 Boramae, has successfully completed its first test flight.
The aircraft designed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) took off from the 3rd Flying Training Wing of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) based in Sacheon Airport (HIN) and remained airborne for 33 minutes.
The sixth prototype is a two-seat aircraft with a front and rear cockpit, similar to the fourth aircraft of the testing fleet. The main role of the double-seat variant will be training missions.
For its maiden flight, the prototype was flown by Major Lee Chul-soo from the ROKAF 52nd Squadron, accompanied by KAI Chief Pilot Ko Hwi-seok. The flight test program for this airframe will include various evaluations, such as assessing the impact of the two-seat configuration on flight characteristics.
This successful flight marks a significant milestone, as all six KF-21 flight test prototypes have now completed their initial flights, less than a year after the first aircraft’s maiden flight on July 19, 2022.
“In the future, we will continue to conduct flight tests to validate capabilities, including supersonic flight, advanced avionics and electronic warfare equipment, and air-to-air armament, using all six prototypes,” South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration explained.
What is the KAI KF-21 Boramae fighter jet?
The KF-21 Boramae is a result of the KF-X development program, a collaborative effort between South Korea and Indonesia. The fighter is powered by two GE Aviation-supplied F414 engines, the same type used in F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and Saab JAS 39E/F Gripens.
Mass production of South Korea’s advanced fighter is anticipated to commence by 2026. The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) plans to acquire 120 KF-21 fighters by 2032, replacing its aging fleet, which includes the F-4E and F-5E aircraft.