Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is planning to roll out the first Korean Fighter eXperimental/ Indonesian Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) fighter aircraft prototype by the first half of 2021. The first test flight of the platform is expected to be performed a year later.
The development of KF-X started in January 2016. Production work on the first prototype started in February 2018, beginning with the Manufacturing of the aircraft’s bulk head. Its preliminary design was finalized in June 2018.
Under the original agreement in 2015, Indonesia committed to contribute for 20% of the total development costs (USD 8 billion). The remaining amount is split between the South Korean government (60%) and prime contractor KAI (20%). Indonesia, however, is currently renegotiating its involvement in the program, though it remains committed to honoring its payment obligations. PT Dirgantara Indonesia is the industry partner of KAI in Indonesia.
The KF-X development program anticipates the production of six prototypes. This will be followed by four years of trials and completion of development by mid-2026. Serial production will be carried out between 2026-32.
The Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) has placed an initial order of 120 units, with the intention of replacing the ageing fleets of F-4E Phantom and F-5E Tiger II aircraft.