South Korea's recurring problem in seeking to develop civil aircraft is that, in contrast to countries such as China and Brazil, its domestic market is small. Hanyang University estimates that tens, rather than hundreds, of KABJs could be sold domestically. South Korean conglomerates could be expected to buy it, in the usual manner of coordinated South Korean economic development, and the aircraft would be useful to the government for surveillance and as a ministerial transport.
Sales and commercial success are not the key aim, anyway. The program would succeed by enlisting government funds for the process of gaining FAA recognition and for investing in test facilities that could be used for later programs.
An alternative for a Part 25 certification effort would have been a 19-seat turboprop transport, but South Korean researchers see a limited market for such an aircraft. Importantly, they stress the technological and developmental overlaps between business jets and fighters, notably in aerodynamics, structure and systems integration. The KABJ could therefore help support development of the proposed KF-X stealth fighter—or compete with it, if the country undertakes both projects at the same time, stretching its supply of engineers.
The business jet would also serve as a suitably sized host for a proposed South Korean turbofan, which would necessarily be small as the country's first attempt at a civil jet engine. At first, a foreign engine would be needed for the aircraft, however.
KABJ Concept Specifications
|Max. takeoff weight||9 metric tons||(20,000 lb.)|
|Crew + passengers||2 + 8|
|Range||4,100 km||(2,200 nm)|
|Max. true air speed||850 kph||(460 kt.)|
|Wingspan||17.5 meters||(57.4 ft.)|
|Length||16.8 meters||(55.1 ft.)|
|Height||5.6 meters||(18.4 ft.)|
|Leading edge sweep||25 deg.|
|Source: Hanyang University|