South Korea is zooming ahead with the mass production of its KF-21 fighter jet, and China won’t be happy

Published March 30, 2024
  • Seoul has announced it will produce up to 40 units of its latest 4.5-generation fighter jet, the KF-21 Boramae
  • It is set to rival China’s FC-31, proving a threat to Beijing’s arms export trade as well as its regional air dominance, experts say

South Korea’s newest home-grown fighter jet, which has recently been approved for mass production, is set to be viewed by Beijing “primarily as a threat” to its own arms trade, experts say.

Last week it was announced that the KF-21 Boramae, a 4.5-generation fighter jet, had been approved by Seoul’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) for a mass production plan of up to 40 units, to be built between 2024 and 2028.

The news is likely to cause unease for China because of the jet’s advanced capacity, the potential to enhance the air capabilities of China’s regional competitors as well as its position as a rival to China in the arms export trade, they said.



RELATED: Indonesian aerospace firm CEO visits Korea amid probe over employee’s alleged KF-21 data theft

A KF-21 fighter jet prototype is on display at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, just south of the capital, Oct. 17, 2023. Yonhap
Published March 30,  2024

The chief of an Indonesian aerospace company involved in the joint KF-21 fighter jet development project has visited Korea, officials said Friday, amid a probe over an employee of the company allegedly stealing data on the program.

Gita Amperiawan, CEO of PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), arrived in the country Thursday for a two-day trip to visit the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI), according to the officials at DAPA and KAI.

The visit took place as police are investigating the PTDI engineer’s alleged attempt to take technologies related to the project at KAI’s headquarters in Sacheon, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in January.

PTDI has dispatched engineers to KAI, the manufacturer of the KF-21, after Indonesia agreed to take part in the project launched in 2015 to develop the advanced supersonic fighter by 2026.




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