South Korea’s KF-21 Boramae Refuels From KC-330 During Historic First AAR Test



The KF-21 in the course of the refueling take a look at with a KC-330 (Picture credit score: DAPA)

A prototype of the South Korea’s domestically developed KF-21 Boramae carried out the primary aerial refueling take a look at.

On Mar. 19, 2024, the fifth KF-21 prototype was refueled from a KC-330 multipurpose aerial refueling transport plane in the course of the kind’s first aerial refueling test.

“KF-21 prototype 5 took off from the runway of the third Air Power Coaching Wing at 9:45 a.m. as we speak and efficiently carried out an aerial refueling flight over the South Sea,” stated the Protection Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in a public assertion.

The chance to refuel an plane mid-air is essential to develop the operational vary and on-station time of recent plane, particularly those who don’t carry exterior gas tanks to maintain their LO (Low Observability).

The KF-21 aerial refueling take a look at started on Mar. 8, when a preliminary inspection assessed the management traits of the flying growth of the tanker refueling and its compatibility with the KF-21’s receptacle. Then, on Mar. 19, a flight take a look at was carried out over the South Sea by connecting the refueling growth of a ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Power) KC-330 tanker to the KF-21 aerial refueling receptacle and transferring the gas.

Throughout the flight take a look at, the DAPA targeted on confirming and evaluating the impression of turbulence occurring behind the tanker and growth, the protected connection and separation from the tanker, and the aerial refueling operate reminiscent of gas switch.

One other picture of the KF-21’s first AAR take a look at. (DAPA)

“The success of this aerial refueling flight take a look at is important in that it could possibly develop the operational radius and working time of the KF-21, contributing to securing the Air Power’s long-distance operational capabilities in addition to strengthening its navy energy,” stated Noh Ji-man, head of the Korea Fighter Program on the DAPA. “The KF-21 aerial refueling take a look at will proceed to confirm aerial refueling capabilities at numerous altitudes and speeds by way of roughly 60 flight checks till March 2025,” he stated.

KF-21 Boramae

The KF-21 Boramae, (Korean for “Hawk”), is taken into account a low-cost, less-stealthy various to the U.S. F-35. ROKAF expects to function it by the 2030s to replace its fleet of ageing F-4E Phantom and F-5E/F Tiger II plane. Six prototypes, together with two twin-seat aircraft, will help the testing marketing campaign that’s anticipated to final till 2026, when full scale manufacturing ought to start with KF-21 Block I.

South Korea and Indonesia agreed in 2014 to collectively develop the following technology fighter in a venture price 7.5 trillion gained (6.3B US), with Indonesia dedicated to paying 20% of the full growth value. South Korea is planning to deploy 40 KF-21s by 2028 and a complete of 120 by 2032 whereas 50 needs to be deployed by Indonesia. For that reason, the prototypes sport the Indonesian flag together with the Korean one during the first flight in 2022.

A screenshot from the ROKAF video of the KF-21 throughout its maiden flight.

The KF-21 is strikingly just like different fifth technology designs (though it’s thought of a 4.5 gen. plane): specifically, the South Korean jet shares much resemblance with the F-22 Raptor together with the same canted twin tails, common nostril part and inlet shaping. The “Boramae” additionally includes a conformal gun above the left air consumption, because the F-35A. About 65% of the expertise used on the KF-21 is of South Korean origin, together with the energetic electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which is currently being tested aboard a modified Boeing 737-500.

The AAR is simply one of many milestones within the growth of the KF-21: DAPA plans to totally verify that precise gas is transferred from the tanker to the Boramae in numerous flight areas sooner or later. Comply with-up flight testing will proceed till the primary half of 2026.

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, overlaying aviation, protection, conflict, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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