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Korea Aerospace shares big plans for KF-21 fighter jet

written by Robert Dougherty | February 28, 2023

Korea Aerospace Industries has exhibited its sleek new KF-21 fighter jet at the Avalon Airshow.

The single and double-seat variant fighter was displayed beside a KAI Light Armed Helicopter and a FA-50 light combat jet at the event on 28 February.

KAI has eight prototypes of the KF-21 with a total of six flying prototypes, including one which flew a 30-minute test flight on February 20 this year. The company reported it has successfully broken the sound barrier with the aircraft.

KAI vice-president and head of international business department, JaeHong Jake Kim, said the aircraft would feature air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground munitions, and a Gatling-type 20mm machine gun.


There are also plans to combine AI, verbal communication, and teaming with unmanned vehicles.

“This kind of concept is not mature, but the concept should be two-seater piloted jet with four unmanned aircraft,” said Kim.

“The design can be easily turned into an export version. The beauty of this aircraft is that we have a one-seater and two-seater aircraft.”

The aircraft is expected to replace the Republic of Korea Air Force fleet of F-4E Phantom II and F-5E, F Tiger II aircraft.

It comes ahead of South Korea’s iconic Black Eagles aerobatic team performing at Avalon this week.

The pilots will fly eight KAI T-50B Golden Eagles, a supersonic advanced jet trainer aircraft modified with the addition of a highly visible display livery, an onboard camera system, and display smoke-generating equipment.

The team is famous for its signature ‘Taegeuk’ aerobatic, which creates the Republic of Korea flag with precision formation aerobatics and display smoke. They previously won two honours at the British airshow Royal International Air Tattoo in July last year.

Airshow 2023 chief executive officer Justin Gidding said the Black Eagles were an exciting addition to the program.

“The Airshow 2023 team is honoured that the first Black Eagles display ever seen in Australia will be at our event,” he said.

“The Black Eagles are well known internationally for their professional display performance and distinctive aircraft that have not been seen in Australia before.

“The Black Eagles will add a new level of interest and spectacle for aviation enthusiasts at Airshow 2023.

“Airshow 2023 is all about presenting new and exciting displays and aircraft across the spectrum of aviation, from Australia and around the world.

“There will be more announcements in the coming weeks about new aircraft, displays and teams, some of which will be performing in Australia for the first time at Airshow 2023.”

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