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South Korean new fighter jet ready for first ʄlight

South Korean media reported that the newest KF-21 Boramae (Hawk) fighter jet appears poised to start flight testing.According to The Korea Times, the newest local-made fighter aircraft is set to reach for the sky on its inaugural flight later this month.

The plan was unveiled during its media event, last week, during which Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) also carried out the fighter jet’s first public runway test at its headquarters in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.Currently, six flying prototypes have been rolled out.

“The first flight test is expected to take place in the third or fourth week of July,” said Kim Nam-shin, a senior manager of the KF-X Program Division at KAI.“If it occurs, the test flight will be conducted over some three days.”

The KF-X program aims to produce 120 advanced multi-role fighter jets to replace the Republic of Korea Air Force’s aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s by 2032. Korea and Indonesia signed a deal in 2010 to cooperate on the project, under which Jakarta would fund 20 percent of the total development cost of 8.8 trillion won ($6.76 billion), in exchange for a number of planes that would be manufactured there for the Indonesian Air Force, as well as technology transfers.

However, the specific number will be decided depending on Jakarta’s funding of its share, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).The new KF-21 is s one of the most important national projects to replace current air force fighters and to introduce the next generation fighter that can satisfy the future operation concept of the force battlefield.

Boramae is a multi-role fighter jet and the outcome of the KF-X aircraft development program which has been pursued since 2016. Indonesia has promised to fund 20 percent of the total development cost, or 1.73 trillion won ($1.55 billion), in exchange for 50 planes that will be manufactured there for the Indonesian Air Force, as well as technology transfers.