Boeing sneaks a peek at KF-X design

Boeing KF-X crop.jpgThis literally slipped right past us last week in Seoul. Buried in the Korean-language F-15SE Silent Eagle brochure, which we brought home as a souvenir, is an image revealing Boeing’s concept for South Korea’s KF-X fighter. It was so sneaky we didn’t even spot it until it was pointed out to us by an alert blog reader, who had downloaded the same brochure on Boeing’s web site. Yes, we are ashamed.

Judging by this image, Boeing is offering a single-seat fighter with a V-tail and an internal weapons bay. We detect a passing resemblance to a snub-nosed F/A-18. It’s difficult to determine whether the image shows one or two engines, but South Korea’s preference is clearly the latter. In the KF-X seminar we attended on 21 October, a Defense Acquisition Programmes Administration (DAPA) official voiced concern about the safety of single-engine fighters. This, from a country that operates Lockheed Martin KF-16s and partly indigenous Lockheed/Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T/F/A-50 Golden Eagles, is an astonishing opinion.

In any case, we believe we now have the three images of the most likely KF-X designs proposed by foreign companies.

Boeing’s concept is above. The Eurofighter concept, showing what appears to be a twin-engined MAKO variant, was revealed on this blog last week. Where is Lockheed’s concept? Well, we’re betting that’s the image revealed in DAPA’s presentations at the KF-X seminar, which, ahem, kind of makes you wonder if one team has an early lead.

Click here to read our full analysis of the KF-X programme running in next week’s issue of Flight International magazine.

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