KAI's KF-21 fighter prototype begins taxi tests

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has begun taxi tests of its indigenously developed KF-21 Boramae multi-role fighter.

The prototype, serial number 001, made its first taxi test from KAI’s facility at Sacheon, South Korea, on July 5. KAI said that it anticipates the aircraft will make its maiden flight around the end of July. Series production for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is planned to begin in 2026, at which point the development programme is scheduled for completion. The ROKAF plans to acquire 120 KF-21s by 2032 to replace its ageing F-4E Phantom IIs and F-5E/F Tiger IIs.

 

KF-021 taxi test
The prototype KF-21 Boramae, 001, taxies out for its first taxi test from KAI’s facility at Sacheon, South Korea, on July 5. The aircraft made a high-speed run down the runway during the trial KAI

The prototype had been publicly unveiled at the Sacheon factory well over a year ago, on April 9, 2021, since when it has been undergoing extensive ground testing. At the unveiling, it was also officially designated the KF-21 (having previously been referred to just as KF-X) and named the Boramae, which translates roughly as Fighting Hawk. Aircraft 001 is the first of six prototypes that will be used in the development programme.