South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) contracted Hanwha Aerospace to produce engines for the first batch of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21 fighters.

Running from 2024-2027, the agreement will see Hanwha Aerospace produce 40 F414 engines under licence from GE Aerospace, says the Korean company.


Source: Defense Acquisition Program Administration

The KF-21 is expected to enter South Korean service in 2026

It says the contract is “valued around $401 million”, and also includes manuals and on-site technical support.

In March, DAPA ordered the first 20-unit production batch of the twin-engined KF-21 in a deal worth W7.9 trillion ($5.8 billion).

A month later, Hanwha Aerospace broke ground on a new facility at Changon to licence-build the F414.

“As Korea’s only specialised aircraft engine company, we are committed to supplying high-quality engines without delay,” says Hanwha.

“We will dedicate all our resources to developing independent aviation engine technology for national defence and securing future growth opportunities for Korea.”

In line with government plans for an indigenous fighter engine, Hanwha will develop an engine with a thrust of 15,000lb (66.8kN) that will power Block III examples of the KF-21 in the second half of the 2030s.

The company has long experience producing aircraft engines. Earlier this year it completed its 10,000th aircraft engine, an F404 that will power a KAI T-50/FA-50-famly jet. The company produced its first engine under licence in 1979, a J79 for the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom.