A South Korean defense research body has recommended reducing production of domestically produced KF-21 fighter jets.
Concerns over price competitiveness and uncertainties surrounding the South Korean KF-21 Boramae project have led the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis to recommend reducing initial production volume.
The original plan called for the production of 120 KF-21 fighters by 2032, but this could now be reduced.
Launched in 2015 with a budget of 8.9 trillion won (about $6.59 billion), the KF-21 project was launched to develop a supersonic fighter to replace South Korea’s aging F-4 and F-5 aircraft. However, due to the uncertainties of the project, the Korean Institute for Defense Analysis has suggested reducing the number of the first batch by half to 20 units.
The state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it will consult with relevant agencies to ensure the timely deployment of the locally-made aircraft without elaborating on the ongoing review process.
“The KF-21 is currently in normal development, and a feasibility study has been carried out to start production from 2024,” You Kyoung-keun, a DAPA official, said during a press conference. “We will continue our efforts to ensure the KF-21 is deployed in a timely manner and remains competitive in price and performance.”
The outcome of the feasibility study will play a crucial role in securing budgetary resources for the first phase of production, scheduled to begin in 2024. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is currently collaborating with the relevant agencies to ensure the timely deployment of the KF-21 and maintain its competitiveness in price and performance.
A total of six prototypes of the fourth-generation fighter, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries, began flight testing earlier this year to make the first delivery to the Air Force in the second half of 2026.