S.Korea Oks Mass Production for KF-21 Fighters; to Limit Initial Production to 20 Units over Integration Concerns

Experts have recommended limiting initial KF-21 production to 20 units due to performance and integration concerns, including AESA radar and missiles.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 05:33 AM, March 23, 2024
  • 951
S.Korea Oks Mass Production for KF-21 Fighters; to Limit Initial Production to 20 Units over Integration Concerns
KF-21 Boramae fighter

The South Korean government approved the initial mass production plan for its KF-21 fighter jets on Friday, with 40 units planned in total, but contracts for only 20 units are set for this year.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) stressed the urgency of replacing outdated F-4 and F-5 aircraft. They highlighted the need to prevent a military capability gap and enhance the Air Force's abilities.

The decision on the first batch size has attracted attention, especially after a feasibility study by the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis recommended reducing the initial production to 20 units due to incomplete performance verification. This includes concerns about the integration between the AESA radar and air-to-air missiles on the KF-21.

Following this recommendation, DAPA will contract 20 units this June and the remaining 20 units next year after further performance verification. Validation of connectivity between missiles and radar is deemed crucial.

The plan to procure 40 units initially from 2026 to 2028, followed by an additional 80 units by 2032, remains unchanged. This will allow for a total of 120 KF-21s in operation. The initial production of 40 units will require an investment of 7.92 trillion won ($5.92 billion) by 2028.

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