Monday, December 4, 2023

South Korea plans to reduce KF-21 fighter jet production

A South Korean defense research agency has recommended reducing KF-21 homegrown fighter jet output.

Concerns over the price competitiveness and uncertainties surrounding South Korea’s KF-21 Boramae project have prompted the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses to recommend reducing the initial production volume.

The original plan called for the production of 120 KF-21 fighter jets by 2032, but this may now be scaled back.


Launched in 2015 with a budget of 8.9 trillion won (approximately $6.59 billion), the KF-21 project was initiated to develop a supersonic fighter to replace South Korea’s aging F-4 and F-5 aircraft. However, due to project uncertainties, the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses has suggested cutting the number in the first batch by half to 20 units.

Photo by Korea Aerospace Industries

The feasibility study’s outcome will play a crucial role in securing the budget resources for the first-phase production, which is expected to commence in 2024. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is currently collaborating with relevant agencies to ensure the KF-21’s timely deployment and to maintain its price and performance competitiveness.

Korea Aerospace Industries has developed six prototypes of the 4.5th-generation fighter, which began their flight tests earlier this year, with the first delivery to the Air Force slated for the latter half of 2026.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul is a defense reporter who covers the Korean defense industry and all related issues.



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