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South Korea begins building prototype of next-generation fighter aircraft

Posted by Dylan Malyasov on

Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, is starting production on the first prototype of a next-generation fighter jet.

On 14 February, South Korea’s biggest aerospace company held a ceremony in order to celebrate the start producing of the first bulkhead, which is the main part of the forward fuselage of the next-generation Korean Fighter Xperiment (KFX) aircraft.

“A bulkhead is a structure that is designed to prevent an aircraft from being deformed due to pressure generated by high-speed flights”, the aerospace company announced Thursday.

A KAI representative said that the first prototype of the KF-X advanced multirole fighter aircraft, so-called 4.5-generation fighter, will be finished in April 2021.

Currently, KAI has completed 15 percent of the total design drawing for KF-X and will complete more than 80 percent after September when a detailed design review is completed. KF-X passed a system requirement review and a system function review in 2016. System development for the aircraft started in December 2015.

The KF-X program aims for production around 120 advanced fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging F-4 and F-5 combat aircraft.

The KF-X project is expected to play an important role in revving up the Korean aviation industry in terms of technology accumulation and job creation.

The KF-X project currently involves a total of 112 institutions — 16 domestic universities, 11 research institutes and 85 companies. When the development of the prototype gets in full swing, an additional 35 institutions will join the project.

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