South Korea’s next-generation fighter jet, the KF-21 Boramae, conducted a supersonic flight test for the first time.
The test was carried out by the 3rd Flying Training Wing of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) on January 17, 2023, flying from Korea Aerospace Industries’ facility near Sacheon airport, South Korea. The flight helped verify the structural stability of the aircraft at supersonic speed.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration highlights that the Boramae is the first indigenous design to break the sound barrier. The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle trainer also reached supersonic speed for the first time in 2003 but was developed through technical cooperation with the United States.
“Thanks to the dedication and hard work of many people, we were finally able to achieve the historic achievement of having the first supersonic aircraft developed with domestic technology,” South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup said following the flight. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has worked so hard, including the development team and test flight pilots belonging to KAI.”
What is the KF-21 Boramae fighter jet?
The KF-21 Boramae is a result of the long-running KF-X development program, a joint development between South Korea and Indonesia. GE Aviation, another partner of the project, supplies F414 engines used on F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and Saab JAS 39E/F Gripens.
The first aircraft prototype conducted its maiden flight on July 19, 2022. Mass production of the 4.5 generation fighter will commence in 2026. The ROKAF hopes to receive 120 KF-21 fighters by 2032 to replace its aging fighters, namely the F-4E and F-5E.