South Korea’s Home-Grown KF-21 Fighter Jet Completes First Test Flight

South Korea’s newly developed 4.5-generation fighter, the KF-21 roars into the air, for its first test flight.

It took off at 3:40 PM from Sacheon airport located in the south of the country and flew for around 30 minutes at 400 kilometers per hour.

The flight came more than 20 years after the country officially announced that it will develop its own “advanced fighter jet” and 6 years after actual development began by Korea Aircraft Industries, or KAI in 2015.

With that, South Korea is edging closer to becoming the eighth country in the world to have developed its own supersonic fighter jet.

So far, countries including the U.S., Russia, China, Japan, France, Sweden and the European consortium comprised of UK, Germany, Italy and Spain have developed such aircraft.
For the next four years, more prototypes will be put test flown.

“Until 2026, we will test the aircraft by putting prototypes through around 2-thousand flights. Manufacturing will begin from 2026, and a total of 120 aircraft will be given to the South Korean Air Force by 2032.”

Developing the KF-21 is a key part of South Korea’s project that’s aimed at replacing its fleet of ageing F-4s and F-5s.

It was designed to fly at a top speed of 1.8 times the speed of sound and is capable of carrying four medium-range air-to-air missiles called the ‘Meteor’, that has a combat range of 200 kilometers and can fly at Mach 4.5.

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