KAI Proposes Smaller KF-X Design

By Minseok Kim, Bradley Perrett
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

KAI's fighter design has probably not been worked to nearly the level of detail as the C103 and C203, which ADD has produced after more than a decade of study, which ramped up in the past two years. The manufacturer still has plenty of time to refine the KFX-E, however, because the government is clearly in no hurry to launch full-scale development of an indigenous fighter. Parliament is unlikely to allocate more than 10 billion won ($9.4 million) for work on the KF-X next year.

On the other hand, KAI will surely want government funding for any intensive work on its design. Not much is available, and ADD will presumably want it all. In the end, the finance ministry may not dispense all of the money.

Political opposition to the KF-X remains as strong as ever, always focused on the alternative of importing fighters. Meanwhile, President Park Geun-hye's plans for social welfare spending can only put pressure on the defense budget. In January, ADD said the life-cycle cost of the KF-X would be 23 trillion won. Exports are assumed.

KF-X Alternatives
Weight, empty9.3 metric tons (20,500 lb.)10.9 metric tons (24,000 lb.)
Weight, max.20.9 metric tons (46,000 lb.)24 metric tons (53,000 lb.)
Internal fuel3.6 metric tons (8,000 lb.)5.4 metric tons (12,000 lb.)
Span9.8 meters (32 ft.)10.7 meters (35.2 ft.)
Length15.2 meters (50 ft.)15.7 meters (51.3 ft.)
Wing area37.1 sq. meters (400 sq. ft.)42.7 sq. meters (460 sq. ft.)
Engine1 X P&W F100 or GE F1102 X EJ200 or GE F414
Weapons bayNoneSpace provided
Sources: Korea Aerospace Industries and Agency for Defense Development

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