Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21 Boramae (Hawk) number 004 is the first two-seat version of the 4.5-generation jet to fly.
The two-seater performed its first 34-minutes maiden flight from Sacheon on 20 February 2022. The KF-21 is formerly known as the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) and the platform could be used for further development and conversion into a 5th-generation one with improved stealth technologies.
So far four of the KF-21 versions have started flight tests, some 110 flights were carried out, the fifth (single seat) and sixth (two-seat) prototypes are scheduled to have their maiden flight also in the first half of 2023.
The dual-seat KF-21, beside training, will be developed into an electronic warfare aircraft and it is envisioned that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will be controlled from the rear-seat for battlefield drone missions.
Full scale manufacturing is scheduled to begin in 2026. South Korea expects to deploy 40 jets by 2028 and 120 by 2032.
With the Dae Han Min Guk Gong Gun (RoKAF, Republic of Korea Air Force), the new fighter will replace the ageing fleet of F-4E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft. It is not known yet how many two-seat KF-21 Boramae (of the 160 aircraft) the RoKAF intends to order.
MBC News published a video of the first flight.
Photo: still from MBC News video