Military Review

Korean fighter KF-21 Boramae can press the Su-35 on the market


The first flight prototype of the KF-21 Boramae

On April 9, 2021, the official presentation of the fully completed flight model of the promising South Korean fighter KF-21 Boramae took place in Sacheon. The multifunctional fighter, which is endowed with some of the capabilities of fifth-generation fighters, was demonstrated at the headquarters of the South Korean aircraft corporation Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI).

The promising project was previously known as the KF-X. The first flight of a prototype of the new fighter, which the Koreans themselves refer to the 4 ++ generation (or as it is also called 4,5), should take place in early 2022. As part of the presentation, the official designation of the new KF-21 Boramae (Falcon) fighter was revealed.

The importance of the presentation of the novelty is confirmed by the fact that, in addition to the military and representatives of the aircraft concern, the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae In personally attended the presentation. Among the foreign dignitaries was Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Indonesia together with South Korea will be the first customers of the new aircraft. The Indonesian military expects to receive at least two dozen aircraft, the South Korean Air Force - about 140. At the same time, the aircraft will definitely have an export potential, which is also expected in Seoul.

What is known about the KF-X project

The program for creating its own multi-functional fighter appeared in South Korea around 2001. The project was quite ambitious, at the first stage it was even talked about the creation of a 5th generation combat aircraft. But the fighter was transformed into the "4 ++" model, as the Koreans themselves classify the fighter. The country's leading aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the ADD - Agency for Defense Development of the South Korean Defense Ministry are responsible for the development of the new aircraft.

The practical implementation of the program for creating a new fighter began no earlier than 2010. In December 2015, KAI was awarded a contract for the full-scale development of the fighter, then known as the KF-X. The contract signed in 2015 provides for the construction of 6 experimental flight prototypes and two prototypes for ground testing. Since 2015, work on the creation of a new fighter has reached the highest degree of productivity.

KF-21 Boramae fighter presentation

At the same time, it is important to understand that the United States is providing direct support to South Korea in the process of creating its own multifunctional fighter. The leading American aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin redistributed more than 20 technologies to the Republic of Korea, which were used to create the fifth-generation F-35A multifunctional fighter-bomber.

At the same time, the Korean KF-X fighter itself, with its appearance and aerodynamic model, very much resembles another development, in the creation of which Lockheed Martin participated - the world's first serial fifth-generation fighter F-22 Raptor. The Korean fighter is slightly smaller. At the same time, we are still facing a single-seat twin-engine fighter with a spaced double keel and the possibility of placing weapons in the internal compartments of the aircraft.

The USA could not transfer part of the technologies to their allies. For example, the transmission of electronic warfare systems, AFAR radar, optoelectronic stations, was blocked by the American government. Seoul had to develop these technologies independently, and South Korean engineers succeeded in this.

The final technical appearance of the promising fighter was approved only in September 2019. After that, the construction process of the head prototype began at the aircraft plant in Sacheon, which was shown to the public on April 9, 2021.

The total cost of the entire program became the largest in the entire history South Korean military developments. The cost of the project to create its own multi-functional fighter is estimated at 18,6 trillion won (approximately $ 16,6 billion), of which 8,6 trillion won (approximately $ 7,7 billion) went directly to R&D. The rest of the money is planned to be spent on the construction of serial samples.

The main goal of the KF-21 Boramae fighter program was to create a 4 ++ generation machine, which can be built in a mass batch and surpass the KF-16 fighter (Korean version of the American F-16) in its combat capabilities. In the South Korean Air Force, the Falcon will have to replace the numerous, still in service, morally and physically obsolete fighters F-4 Phantom II and F-5 Freedom Fighter / Tiger II.

Comparison of fighters KF-21 Boramae and F-22 Raptor

In part, the mass character can explain the reluctance to create a fifth-generation fighter so far. The car is not so expensive, which is very important for a serious renewal of the Air Force fleet. In total, the South Korean military expects to receive 40 aircraft by 2028. And by 2032, their fleet should be at least 120 aircraft.

The American F-35 has so far been chosen as the fifth generation fighter, of which it is planned to purchase at least 80 units, including 20 in the deck version for equipping the first Korean aircraft carrier. Purchase contracts were awarded in 2014 and 2020.

Revealed specifications of the KF-21 Boramae

The new South Korean fighter will have a fairly high combat potential. The machine will receive many of the capabilities of the fifth generation fighters. According to the Agency for Defense Development, the KF-21 Boramae (Falcon) is a 4 ++ or 4,5 generation multi-role fighter. Some elements of the stealth technology are also implemented in the model. Largely thanks to the technical assistance provided by the Americans.

The goal of the program for the creation of a new multi-functional fighter KF-21 Boramae was to create a combat vehicle that, in terms of stealth, would surpass the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale fighters. Most likely, these indicators will be achieved. At the same time, the South Korean fighter will be inferior in these parameters to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

Initially, the Koreans hoped to create a fighter with internal compartments to accommodate weapons. But at some point it was decided to abandon this. This fact will definitely not play into the hands of the vehicle's stealth. It is known that the KF-21 Boramae fighter will receive 10 weapons suspension points. Including 4 semi-submerged suspension points under the fuselage for the placement of air-to-air missiles and six under the wing. The maximum payload is 7700 kg.

To combat aviation enemy fighter will be able to use guided missiles Meteor, IRIS-T and AIM-120. The latest versions of the American AIM-120 medium-range guided missile are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 180 kilometers. The main strike means of the aircraft for operations against ground targets should be the TAURUS KEPD missile with a declared range of more than 500 km.

So far, only a single-seat version of the fighter is known. At the same time, the appearance of a two-seater version in combat training is not excluded. The length of the KF-21 Boramae is 16,9 meters, the wingspan is 11,2 meters, and the height of the aircraft is 4,7 meters. The declared maximum take-off weight is 25,4 tons (this is about 10 tons less than the Su-35 and 5 tons less than the F-35A). The maximum flight speed should be Mach 1,9 (approximately 2300 km / h). The flight range is up to 2,9 thousand km.

The localization of the aircraft already reaches 60–65 percent. At the same time, in the future, South Korea plans to improve this indicator. Most of the aircraft's critical systems have already been developed and manufactured by the Republic of Korea. In particular, the radar with an active phased antenna array for the KF-21 Boramae was created by the Korean company Hanwha Systems.

The most foreign element of the aircraft at the moment is the power plant, represented by two American General Electric F414 engines with a thrust of 5900 kgf each (with afterburner 9900 kgf). Hanwha Techwin will be manufacturing engines in South Korea, which plans to increase the level of localization of components during their assembly.

Fighter KF-21 Boramae may complicate life for Russian exports

The Koreans from the very beginning counted on the export capabilities of the new fighter. The initial partner in the project is Indonesia, which was supposed to take on 20 percent of the development costs of the aircraft. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the amount received from Indonesia is far below the declared amount. Thus, according to South Korean media reports, Jakarta financed work at the level of 227,2 billion won with an agreement to invest 831,6 billion won.

For participation in the project, Indonesia expects to receive one copy of the finished fighter, as well as all the technical documentation for this project and the right to assemble the aircraft itself. In total, it is planned to produce up to 50 KF-21 Boramae fighters for the needs of the Indonesian Air Force. In the Indonesian Air Force, the aircraft may be designated F-33.

The first flight prototype of the KF-21 Boramae

It is worth noting that the appearance of this fighter will definitely complicate the export of Russian 4 ++ generation aircraft to Indonesia, which currently has Russian, American and Korean combat aircraft in the Air Force. In particular, the Indonesian Air Force has Su-27SK and Su-27SKM fighters, as well as Su-30MK and Su-30MK2.

Perhaps there is no doubt that industrialized South Korea with the help of the United States will be able to create a fighter with good flight and combat characteristics. At the same time, the main complaint about the project throughout its entire existence is the development price. Critics of the project note that the new KF-21 Boramae may be twice as expensive as the top versions of the American F-16 fighter, which may negatively affect its export capabilities.

However, with a favorable development of events, wide localization of production and production in large batches, it may be possible to reduce the cost of the aircraft. In this case, the machine will definitely be able to compete with the Russian Su-30 and Su-35 fighters in the Asia-Pacific region. Especially if the purchase of Russian fighters is fraught with the threat of possible US sanctions.

In this regard, the story with Indonesia just looks like a clear example of the difficulties encountered with Russian arms exports to this country. Earlier in the summer of 2020, American and Indonesian publications wrote that a deal between Russia and Indonesia in February 2018 for the supply of 11 Su-35 fighters fell through due to pressure from Washington and the threat of American sanctions.
Photos used:
All photos: the official account of the South Korean Air Force

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  1. OgnennyiKotik
    OgnennyiKotik April 27 2021 18: 06
    There will be no Indonesian contract for the Su-35, you can forget about it.
    Speaking at the annual meeting of the country's air force, Praseto said that 2021 French Rafale fighters and eight American F-2024EX will be purchased between 36 and 15. In addition, the Indonesian Air Force will be replenished with Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft and long-range medium-altitude attack drones.

    According to the Marshal, the first six American F-15EXs should arrive in the country by 2022.

    Of course, Indonesia has a strange choice of fighters, 3 similar in missions and aircraft capabilities.

    It is impossible to squeeze the Su-35 on the market, there are no people who want to buy it.
    1. credo
      credo April 27 2021 18: 21
      Quote: OgnennyiKotik
      It is impossible to squeeze the Su-35 on the market, there are no people who want to buy it.

      Maybe, but the reasoning of the Author of the article regarding the Korean sales market (except for Indonesia) also looks purely hypothetical for now.
      I am more than sure that the Yankees, when entering this project, also calculated for themselves the possible inconveniences in the world arms market from Korean products, and therefore, having given them some of their best practices, kept in their hands possible levers of influence on the Koreans so that they would not undercut the advantage USA.
      1. OgnennyiKotik
        OgnennyiKotik April 27 2021 18: 40
        Quote: credo
        also calculated for themselves the possible inconveniences in the global arms market

        Of course we did it, there are no such inconveniences.
        The KF-21 is a direct analogue of the F / A-18E / F "Advanced Super Hornet", which is not in great demand now. Yes, and a program to replace it has been launched; in the early 30s, mass production is planned.
        F-15/16/35, Efrofighter, Rafal - cars of other classes.

        NGF, Tempest, NGAD, F / A-XX, F-3 will already be 6th generation, also in a different category.

        The main competitor will be the Turkish TF-X, maybe China will roll out something to the market. Su-57 is a machine with incomprehensible prospects, with extremely little interest in it.

        And so the KF-21 niche is empty.
        1. Vladimir_2U
          Vladimir_2U April 28 2021 03: 13
          Quote: OgnennyiKotik
          The main competitor will be the Turkish TF-X

          The Turks have not yet rolled a horse, besides, Korean electronics and mechanical engineering is a name, but Turkish ...
        2. Herman 4223
          Herman 4223 5 May 2021 12: 34
          For me, the F-18 is a car of a different class. This is a specific naval vehicle. It is more close to the French Rafale, Eurofighter, and our MIG-35.
          1. OgnennyiKotik
            OgnennyiKotik 5 May 2021 12: 37
            Quote: Herman 4223
            This is a specific naval vehicle.

            Yes Yes. Can you tell me which aircraft carriers in these countries is the F-18 based on?
            1. Herman 4223
              Herman 4223 5 May 2021 13: 49
              This does not negate the fact that the car is naval. There are mechanisms for basing in cramped conditions, and landing on a ship. This is a folding wing, hook. There is no land version of the F-18.
      2. Cympak
        Cympak April 28 2021 09: 02
        The Korean KF-21 is powered by American engines. This alone is enough for the Americans to have full control over the export of this aircraft. You can't sell it to anyone without American approval. And also avionics, weapons ... The Su-35 has its own niche - countries to which the United States and Europe do not want to sell modern types of weapons.
    2. donavi49
      donavi49 April 27 2021 18: 36
      It is impossible to squeeze the Su-35 on the market, there are no people who want to buy it.

      Egypt and China, maybe someone else will sell it, for example, Algeria, but this is no longer a fact.

      The problem with the Su-35 is that it does not fully match the market. Well, it's like selling a RuFon thread at a price tag slightly cheaper than IPOS, but there will be no front camera, no special services, market and other things. Also with the Su-35 - there are no AFAR radars, there are really no containers, there are no interesting ammunition, there are no planning small-caliber bombs of the gbu-53 level even in the layout. The concept of super-maneuverability is now going badly, especially with the saturation of the airborne missile systems of the SD not only for the United States and Europeans, but also for the countries of the 2/3 echelon. Nobody plans to fight in the BVB.
    3. NIKN
      NIKN April 27 2021 18: 40
      Quote: OgnennyiKotik
      Of course, Indonesia has a strange choice of fighters, 3 similar in missions and aircraft capabilities.

      Something their aircraft fleet reminds me of the same in India ... It is difficult to make such a menagerie effective both in operation, and in general, in application ...
      1. OgnennyiKotik
        OgnennyiKotik April 27 2021 18: 48
        Yes, some tin
        Su-30, T-50, F-16, Hawk F-15, Rafal, KF-21 - all have different engines (the F-15 and 16 also), avionics, design, countries of production, etc. In this case, there is an intersection of tasks. What for?
        1. Igor Gul
          Igor Gul April 27 2021 20: 23
          Palm oil needs to be sold somewhere)
      2. donavi49
        donavi49 April 27 2021 18: 59
        Well, Indonesia has a lot of F-16s, mostly old versions (from the normal only 24 refined blocks 25 to block 50 on the abbreviated face). However, they can fight with Malaysia (and this is the only real enemy) in general, they can fight old MiGs29, provide CAS to ground forces, etc.

        Quite a bit Su-27 (like a few fly) and a dozen Su-30 from Komsomolsk, the most homeless version. This will not work against the Su-30MKM squadron from the Irkut Air Force of Malaysia. Here and Barsik and UHT, and normal rockets and even a Thales container.

        16 brand new T-50s, however, they chose the training version (T), and not the combat (FA). The board is more primitive, it is possible to carry only AIM-9, although the bombs are generally close, but through the container.

        Now, with the abandonment of the Su-35 and the receipt of the Hornets by Malaysia, the balance in the air has clearly shifted in favor of the Malaysians. Therefore, Indonesia is being purchased.
    4. TermNachTer
      TermNachTer April 27 2021 18: 52
      Buying a very expensive yaroplan, but it will not be cheap because of everything that is crammed into it, which has not yet been adopted for service in your country and has not demonstrated its effectiveness in any way, except for computer cartoons is not the most reasonable decision. Let's see how it will be in life, and not in South Korean Wishlist)))
    5. svp67
      svp67 April 28 2021 06: 58
      Quote: OgnennyiKotik
      It is impossible to squeeze the Su-35 on the market, there are no people who want to buy it.

      Rather, this plane will "push" and resist the J-31
  2. General failure
    General failure April 27 2021 18: 20
    Too many "wills" per square centimeter of text. How good will he really is - no one knows.

    ... However, Koreans have a correct sense of smell. If someone is afraid of US sanctions, then buy Russian or Chinese planes - no, no. This is where these things can get serious ...
  3. The comment was deleted.
  4. Castro Ruiz
    Castro Ruiz April 27 2021 20: 12
    The IN bit can be a potential buyer and it is a large one.
  5. Dmitry Izmalkov
    Dmitry Izmalkov April 27 2021 20: 32
    Why is it needed when there is an F-15 Advanced? And in the military-technical and military-political terms, it is much better
    1. Angry Alt Right
      Angry Alt Right April 28 2021 00: 38
      Quote: Dmitry Izmalkov
      Why is it needed when there is an F-15 Advanced? And in the military-technical and military-political terms, it is much better

      Because the niche in the Korean fleet is different! In the article, however, it is written in plain text that this is a replacement for the ancient F-4 Phantom and F-5 Tiger. Obviously, they do not need to have large numbers of air superiority fighters such as the F-15.
  6. Crabong
    Crabong April 27 2021 20: 44
    Good car.
  7. Magmax
    Magmax April 27 2021 22: 46
    Korean fighter will not be better than SU 35. The best fighter in the world
  8. Prax1
    Prax1 April 28 2021 00: 21
    Really sweetie, the Su-35 is not a competitor to him. The Su-35 has an outdated airframe, lack of AFAR, and overall, the KF-21 has better electronics there. The Su-35 has better maneuverability, but in modern realities, everything is a dubious advantage. Dog fighting games will be a thing of the past.
    1. Dmitry Izmalkov
      Dmitry Izmalkov April 28 2021 06: 43
      The Su-35 and the radar are better. Afar is not a panacea. Irbis E is the most far-sighted radar in the world (even farther than Apg-77, and only apg-77A1 caught up with her. And unlike many AFARs, she has a two-turn, tobizh she sees at ± 120gr or 240, while Apg is ± 60 ( 120)
  9. Revolver
    Revolver April 28 2021 00: 52
    Kim Jong-un smokes nervously in the corner.
  10. Izotovp
    Izotovp April 28 2021 04: 38
    If we proceed from its mass and the rest of the performance characteristics, then this aircraft is more likely a competitor to the MiG-35.
  11. aszzz888
    aszzz888 April 28 2021 05: 33
    Korean fighter KF-21 Boramae can press the Su-35 on the market
    The keyword is highlighted. Article - fortune telling on a chamomile.
  12. Graz
    Graz April 28 2021 07: 46
    There is still nothing to talk about the plane as such, it has not flown and does not fly at air shows.
  13. TatarinSSSR
    TatarinSSSR April 28 2021 13: 04
    To begin with, I don't understand this division into generations 4 at all; 4,5; 5 and a lot of pluses. The generation is old, there is modern, there is development for the future. A modern fighter must meet modern criteria for the use of air forces, be at least no less technologically advanced than modern counterparts of a potential enemy, meet its tactical and technical designation and effectively deal with both the old and new modern generation of fighters and other air targets of the enemy. This is the modern generation. And the digital designations of generations with pluses were invented for the sake of commercialization and to justify the inflated price of this military aircraft.
    1. AC130 Gunship
      AC130 Gunship April 28 2021 17: 11
      I agree with you.
      MiG15, 17, 19 - 1st
      Mig21 -2e
      Mig23 / 27 - 3e
      MiG29 - 4e
      It's about the same in Su. When you have changed a couple of electronic devices inside (for 35 years, of course, AGB-3 can be changed for something) or the engine has been updated, you can add a letter to the brand (as was the case of Tu154B2 and Tu154M). From this Mig29 did not become Mig35
  14. fkmdtn62
    fkmdtn62 April 28 2021 13: 05
    Bl @ ha fly !!!! Found an aviation power. 3 times Ha. Korea 3 more times Ha. do not make people laugh.
    1. yehat2
      yehat2 April 28 2021 15: 50
      laughing in vain. Koreans keep their flight personnel at a very high level
      and a significant portion of their aircraft are modernized American aircraft.
  15. yfast
    yfast April 28 2021 13: 22
    Each fighter has a Samsung phone for free.
  16. Lew
    Lew April 28 2021 14: 31
    I don’t know about pushing Su. Unless we move to the CZT when inspecting the equipment .... well, let them stand nearby, the place is not a pity. Any technique is good only for those who sit at its helm.
  17. Object.F7
    Object.F7 April 28 2021 14: 45
    A proprietary fighter without its own engine? Oh well. In this situation, it cannot even compete with American fighters, because they can say "sit, place" at any moment and the Koreans will obediently leave the road wagging their tail. This layout can only compete with Rafal and Eurofighter. Everyone understands that Indonesia's refusal is connected only with sanctions threats, otherwise the contract would not have been signed, which means any hints that the 35th is not like that is just hypocrisy and nothing more. In general, it is surprising why no one paid attention to the timing of the Korean project, spent a lot of money in 20 years and still not a single takeoff and landing. Each new product has its own childhood diseases, which will take years to eliminate, until they increase production, meet their own needs, it will take decades before they enter the market. Nobody knows what the world will be like at that time. This article can be compared to Ostap Bender's monologue about an intergalactic chess tournament.
  18. yehat2
    yehat2 April 28 2021 15: 47
    I do not think that the Korean kfx will become a competitor to ours or f-15ex.
    he did not have an integral layout, a significant part of the development is local.
    With all due respect to the Koreans, they do not pull at the level of China, the United States or the Russian Federation.
    For the price, it is like most top fighters, and the possibilities are questionable.
    It seems to me that he will rather displace the French and Norwegians.
  19. AC130 Gunship
    AC130 Gunship April 28 2021 17: 04
    Interestingly, the author stubbornly does not consider this Korean as a competitor to the export version of the Su57. Pathos aside, Su, too, is still at the level of generation 4.5. The one with external lids has a very thick fog ...
  20. alexander ivanov_9
    alexander ivanov_9 April 29 2021 05: 28
    Reading this, a super plane sobbed with laughter, no need to poop on Russian fighters, we have control over it ceiling 40 km speed 6200 km / h armed with missiles with a range at high speeds of 27G up to 800 km with artificial intelligence
    neither passive nor active interference helps against it; it is absolutely invisible on NATO and US radars
    1. zenion
      zenion 23 June 2021 18: 20
      alexander ivanov_9. In order for him to fly, as they want and could do as they want, then in terms of streamlining, he must be like a white shark. Although the shark is in the water, its streamlining is high and is suitable not only for submarines, but also for an airplane. The cockpit with the pilot should be in front of the shark's mouth. When such an aircraft is made, then it will fly at such speeds as it wants.
  21. Captain Pushkin
    Captain Pushkin 2 June 2021 14: 53
    The maximum flight speed should be Mach 1,9 (approximately 2300 km / h).

    The speed of sound at an altitude of 10 thousand meters is 299,53 m / s
    those. 1,9M = 2050 km / h
    However, for this aircraft it is not so important what its maximum speed is - in real combat missions, fighters of all countries rarely exceeded the speed of 1,5M (we will leave the MiG-25 and MiG-31 outside the brackets, only these fighters are capable of flying at supersonic speed for a long time).
  22. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 7 June 2021 06: 03
    The first competitors of the Koreyets are Rafal, EF, F16, F15EX ..... because. the composition of weapons is one .... the second group is the 5th generation of Japan, Britain, Europe, Turkey, India ..... It will compete with the Dry 35C, but there are a lot of things that do not depend on the Koreans:
    1. Reexport of American technologies
    2. Clients' use of NATO weapons
    3. Sanctions pressure on buyers of the Russian Federation
    3. Compatibility with air defense and missile defense systems
    4. Price .... by that time the Su35S should be upgraded to the level of the Korean already. But the development costs there are less than that of the new Korean.
  23. zenion
    zenion 23 June 2021 18: 02
    They steal from one another, and then they write - there are no analogues to the stolen one!
  24. Butchcassidy
    Butchcassidy 12 July 2021 14: 04
    Oh, these headers)) Can move, or maybe not))
    Like in a joke about a blonde and a dinosaur ...