• Global Military Communications

KF-21’s first flight demonstrates South Korea’s technological prowess to the world, says GlobalData

Following the news that the South Korean stealth aircraft, KF-21 Boramae, has taken its first flight;

Sourabh Banik, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “The successful first flight of South Korea’s stealth fighter KF-21 is a testament of Seoul’s continued advancements in its defense capabilities.

South Korean stealth multirole fighter aircraft, KAI KF-21 Boramae

The country’s technological prowess is more evident from the remarkable pace at which Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) was able to bring the fighter design from the drawing boards to first flight. This makes South Korea only the second country in Asia, after China, to fly an indigenously developed stealth fighter. The flight test is also significant for Indonesia, which is funding 20% of the program cost and looks to induct this highly advanced aircraft into its future fleet.


“As the South Korean government, along with KAI, funded 80% of the program, it is likely that more KF-21s will be deployed within the ROK Air Force than any other country. According to GlobalData’s report, Military Fixed-wing Aircraft Market Size and Trend Analysis, South Korea is expected to cumulatively spend $17.5 billion on acquiring various categories of military fixed-wing aircrafts between 2022 and 2032, and the combat aircraft segment will account for 82% of that spending.


These procurements are mainly geared towards developing deterrence capabilities against any unforeseen aggression from its neighbour in the north. Investment towards the development of stealth fighters will help Seoul to market the KF-21 to friendly countries that are looking to acquire similar capabilities.


“The ROK Air Force already operates Lockheed Martin’s stealth fighter F-35, which will help the service to smoothly transition to the KF-21 when its inducted.”

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