DN - Defence Notes

ADEX 2017: KF-X now under refinement

19th October 2017 - 12:10 GMT | by Wendell Minnick in Seoul

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A spokesperson for Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) said its next-generation fighter aircraft, the KF-X, is undergoing ‘refinement and its configuration is being altered as testing continues'.

The design, being developed with assistance from Lockheed Martin, will undergo a preliminary design review in mid-2018.

Media reports indicate the South Korean government has invested more than $7 billion into the programme to produce a 4.5-generation multirole fighter with the expectation that around 120 would be procured by the  Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and 80 by the Indonesian Air Force.

The twin-engine aircraft is on schedule and the first prototype is expected to roll out in 2022 and become operational by 2026, the KAI source said. The comments were made at the at this week’s Seoul ADEX, being held from 17-22 October.

The KAI scale model on display at the booth was outfitted with AIM-9X air-to-air missiles, electro-optical pod, navigation pod, precision-guided bombs and external fuel tanks. 

The spokesperson said KAI plans to produce an export variant for the international market after the ROKAF takes delivery.

Hanwa Systems is responsible for avionics and other systems for the KF-X. These include the multi-function display, infrared search and track system, AESA radar, main computer, aircraft management system control panel and electro-optical target tracking. 

Currently all of these are still under development, said a Hanwa spokesperson. 

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