The long-awaited maiden flight of the KF-21 Boramae prototype fighter, from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), took place on Tuesday (19), in the Sacheon region of South Korea.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the KF-21 flight lasted 33 minutes and was “successful”. It is the first time that an authentic, locally developed fighter aircraft has made its first flight.
The KAI plane will replace the South Korean Air Force’s old F-4 Phantom and F-5 Tiger II fighter jets, which have been in use since the 1970s.
Although it has stealth shapes and resembles the US F-22 Raptor and F-35 fighter jets, the KF-21 is classified by the South Koreans as a 4.5-generation fighter jet.
“This first flight was the realization of the domestic development capability of the 4.5th generation advanced fighter,” celebrated the Administration of the Defense Acquisition Program of South Korea (DAPA). “It symbolizes a new leap forward in domestic aviation technology and a leap forward into a high-tech powerhouse.”
DAPA said it plans at least 2,000 test flights with the KF-21, work that will be carried out with a fleet consisting of six prototypes. The aircraft’s entry into service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is expected in mid-2028.
The KF-21 will also be operated by Indonesia, which is a partner in the program.