South Korea has unveiled its new ‘KF-21 Boramae’ fighter jet.
The programme is led by the South Korean Government, which holds 60% of shares. Indonesia joined in 2010 for 20%, and the remaining 20% is held by private partners including manufacturer Korean Aerospace Industries.
The KAI KF-X is South Korea’s second domestic fighter jet development programme, following the FA-50.
The jet, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries as part of a $7.9 billion project, the country’s most expensive military project to date, is scheduled to fly for the first time in 2022 and should be ready for action within the decade.
South Korea today held a ceremony to roll out its first prototype of the next-generation KF-X fighter, officially dubbed KF-21 Boramae.
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“We plan to deploy 40 jets by 2028 and a total of 120 by 2032,” the President of South Korea said.
Seoul will replace its legacy F-4 and F-5 fighter jets with the KF-21
How was ‘Boramae’ chosen as the nickname for KF-21 Korean Fighter, and what does it mean?
According to their facebook page, the Republic of Korea Air Force held an internal vote to decide on the nickname of the KF-21 based on submissions made by the people.
“The ROKAF did the same with other types of aircraft it acquired, with some of the latest examples being the F-35A “Freedom Knight” and KC-330 “Cygnus.” The name ‘Boramae’ was ultimately chosen as the official nickname of the KF-21.
Boramae is a historical term for hawks that were specifically trained at young age for traditional falconry. The hawks were called different names based on the stage of their lives. Boramae refers to ~1 year old hawks, Sujin-yi (수진이) refers to 1+ year old hawks, and Samgyecham (삼계참) refers to 3+ year old hawks. Boramaes are at their most active and eager stage of their lives, often putting down preys that are much larger than them with ferocity.
In context of the ROKAF, the term Boramae has been used in various applications since its founding. Several service songs have the term Boramae in their titles, and cadets & recruits are also referred to as such. The popular Boramae Parks in Seoul and Daejon were also named as such due to the fact they were renovated from old Air Force bases. In short, Boramae refers to a young, specially-trained fighting hawk and is a term that captures the spirit and history of the ROKAF.”