SEOUL AIR SHOW: KF-X vision unveiled

KFX poster crop.jpgIn a seminar today at the Seoul Air Show, South Korean government officials outlined the strategy and plans for the KF-X, a twin-engined stealth fighter with a design goal of achieving manoeuvrability, speed and range performance between a Lockheed Martin F-16 and a Boeing F-15.

South Korea wants to develop the KF-X over the next nine years, with mass production beginning after 2020. Indonesia has already joined the programme, and talks with Turkey are continuing.

If developing an all-new stealth fighter is not enough of a challenge, South Korea also intends to equip the KF-X with a set of all-new weapons, including indigenous missiles in the Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM class, guided bombs and an anti-ship missile. South Korean officials have released a development budget estimate of about US$5 billion, which seems (wildly?) optimistic.

KF-X has previously been pictured with canards, but that concept was nowhere in today’s presenations. Instead, the KF-X appears to have morphed into a more conventional fighter. It appears similar a two-engine variant of the Lockheed F-35. This is Korea’s vision for the KF-X. Eurofighter presented an alternative vision of KF-X, which I will present later. 

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