Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Obscure Stealth Aircraft Part 2: South Korea's KAI KF-X

     I have written previously on South Korea's KF-X program, but I did not discuss the KAI KF-X program in much detail at the time. The KAI KF-X differs from the original KF-X program in that the KAI KF-X it is supposed to be an indigenous stealth fighter. The original KF-X program is meant to purchase fighter aircraft from other countries, the aircraft purchased under the KF-X program is the F-15K Slam Eagle, the F-15K was purchased in both first and second phases of the KF-X program.
     The KAI KF-X is supposed to be equipped with a AESA radar built in South Korea, along with a IRST system. At the moment there are two designs competing in the KAI KF-X program, one design is similar to the F-35 in that it has only one engine. The second differs from the first in that the design uses two engines versus one, this would give the pilot a degree of insurance if one engine went out. Besides this there is not much else known about the KAI KF-X, but it is probably safe to say that the KAI KF-X will carry American missiles and bombs.
     If the cost stays down there could be a market for around 300-500 KAI KF-Xs being sold to various countries. South Korea has partnered with Indonesia in development of the KAI-KF-X, and Turkey has been discussed as a third partner, but as of yet Turkey has joined the KAI KF-X program.
     As the KAI KF-X program progresses it will be interesting to see which design is picked, how the program fares, and if North Korea attempts to purchase stealth fighters.

Photo Credit: TR Defense

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