South Korea's First Homegrown Supersonic Fighter Jet Is Jointly Developed By Indonesia

A cheaper, less-stealthy alternative to the US-built F-35, the fighter jet is officially named the KF-21 Boramae. The 'Boramae' in the name literally translates to 'young hawk' or 'eyas'.

Cover image via MBC News/The Drive

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for our latest stories and breaking news.

Over the week, South Korea unveiled a prototype of its first homegrown supersonic fighter jet, officially named the KF-21 Boramae

The 'Boramae' in the name literally translates to 'young hawk' or 'eyas'.

The unveiling of the prototype of South Korea's first domestically developed fighter jet is being hailed as a highly symbolic moment in the country's decadeslong quest for a combat plane of its own.

According to a report in Yonhap News Agency, the grey-coloured jet was showcased at a rollout ceremony held at the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) headquarters in the southern city of Sacheon on Friday, 9 April, more than five years after the country began the approximately USD8 billion program in late 2015.

The KF-21 jet developed by KAI is designed to be a cheaper, less-stealthy alternative to the US-built F-35, on which South Korea relies

The jet is expected to fly next year.

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), which is the aerial warfare service branch of South Korea, is expected to induct 40 KF-21s by 2028 and have the full fleet of 120 aircraft deployed by 2032.

Reuters reported that KAI plans to carry out ground testing this year with the plan to eventually replace most of South Korea's older, US-made F-4 and F-5 fighter jets, and produce more for export.

The KF-21 is a joint project between South Korea and Indonesia

In the joint project, while Seoul holds 80% of the shares, the remaining 20% is sought by Jakarta.

Friday's event at the KAI headquarters was attended by President Moon Jae-in and representatives from Indonesia including its Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto.

Moon saluted Indonesia for its role, saying, "In particular, I thank the Indonesian government for becoming a partner who believed in the potential of South Korea."

Moon, who has sought to boost the defence industry to spur economic growth and become less reliant on the US, stated that the advantages of having a domestically produced fighter could not be overstated.

"A new era of independent defence has begun. Whenever we need it, we can make it," Moon said, according to a transcript of his comments released by his office.

"When full-scale mass production begins, 100,000 additional jobs will be created and we'll have an added value of KRW5.9 trillion (USD5.2 billion). The effect will be much greater if they're exported."

President Moon Jae-in speaks during the ceremony at the KIA facility in Sacheon.

Image via Yonhap

With the unveiling, South Korea has now become the eighth country in the world that has developed an advanced supersonic fighter

According to a report in CNN, those countries are the US, Russia, China, Japan, France, Sweden and a European consortium of the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

"The KF-21 is the first fighter aircraft made with domestic technology, and it indicates that South Korea is now able to build fighter aircraft by its own. It will also be a stepping stone to develop better fighter aircraft and operate locally developed arms," CNN quoted South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) as saying in a statement.

The flags of South Korea and Indonesia appear on the forward fuselage of the KF-21.

Image via MBC News/The Drive

A ROKAF pilot disembarks the first prototype KF-21 at the ceremony in Sacheon.

Image via MBC News/The Drive

Recently, in a blow to Malaysia's ambition to become a regional automotive hub, Hyundai Motor Corporation announced that the company will be moving its Asia Pacific Headquarters to Indonesia:

Meanwhile, local media reports indicate that Malaysia may become the 3rd country in Southeast Asia to have an official Apple Store by 2022:

You may be interested in: