A fuselage image of the first KF-X prototype at KAI‘s assembly facility in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province (KAI)
Korea Aerospace Industries said Wednesday it plans to roll out the first prototype of its next-generation KF-X fighter jet next April and commence test flights in 2022.
“KAI will roll out the first KF-X prototype by April next year. After the first prototype, the remaining five prototypes will come out one after another within the same year. Test flights are scheduled in 2022,” a KAI official said.
Of the six prototypes, one will be delivered to Indonesia, co-developer of KF-X project.
South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer is set to begin the final assembly of each of the top, middle and bottom parts of the fuselage of the prototype in the second half of this year and complete the installation of equipment and parts such as cables on the prototype by April next year, according to the KAI official.
Starting with the test flights in 2022, the prototypes will then undergo four years of trials, and the development is expected to be completed by mid-2026.
The first batch of mass-produced KF-X aircraft are expected between 2026 and 2028. They will be equipped with limited air-to-ground weapons in addition to air-to-air weapons.
The second batch, which will be series-produced from 2029, will be capable of performing full air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions.
By Kim Byung-wook (email@example.com)