South Korea begins production of indigenous KF-21 fighter

South Korea begins production of indigenous KF-21 fighter

South Korea has begun production of its indigenous KF-21 fighter jet.

The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced the start of production on Wednesday, underscoring the progress in the country’s ambitious aerospace project.

A ceremony celebrating the assembly of the first KF-21 production model was held at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the jet’s manufacturer, in Sacheon, located 296 kilometers south of Seoul. This event signifies a pivotal step forward in South Korea’s defense capabilities.

The program has been a cornerstone of South Korea’s defense modernization strategy, reflecting the country’s commitment to enhancing its military self-reliance.

Last month, KAI secured a contract worth 1.96 trillion won ($1.41 billion) with DAPA to produce 20 units of the KF-21 by 2027. The long-term goal is to expand this fleet to 120 units by 2032.

The KF-21, also known as the Boramae, is expected to bolster the South Korean Air Force’s capabilities with its advanced technology and superior performance.

The first production model of the KF-21 is slated for delivery to the Air Force in late 2026. Since the inception of the development project, various flight and armament tests have been conducted on six KF-21 prototypes to ensure the aircraft meets operational standards.

The KF-21 is envisioned to play a critical role in South Korea’s defense posture, providing a modern, indigenously developed alternative to the aging jets currently in service. Its development and production are not only a testament to South Korea’s growing aerospace capabilities but also a strategic move to enhance national security.

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