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First aerial refueling of the Korean KF-21 Boramae

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced that the KAI KF-21 Boramae next-generation multi-role aircraft prototype No. 005 successfully completed an aerial refueling test flight.

On Tuesday, March 19, the South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced that the prototype of the new generation KAI KF-21 Boramae multi-role aircraft No. 005 took off from Sacheon Airport in Gyeongsang Province, where the 3rd Training Wing of the Republic of Korea Air Force (Daehanminguk Gong-gun) is located and successfully completed an aerial refueling test from an Airbus KC-330 Cygnus aerial refuelling and transport aircraft over the southern coast of South Korea. This confirmed the KF-21’s ability to perform long-range missions.

Photos: DAPA

The aerial refuelling aircraft used in this test was a KC-330 Cygnus (No. 004), a Korean version of the A330 MRTT (Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport), equipped with a DIRCM (Directional Infrared Countermeasure) missile defense system that was introduced to the Daehanminguk Gong-gun in November 2018.

KF-21 No. 005 was to be delivered to Indonesia for testing once it settled its dues under the KF-X (Korean Fighter eXperimental)/IF-X (Indonesian Fighter eXperimental) program. According to Daehanminguk Gong-gun standards, the primary in-flight refueling method is a rigid flying boom under the fuselage, while the method of refueling from probe-and-drogue will be certified for Indonesia and offered for export (Korea: KF-21 Boramae serial production this year).

DAPA explains that while there is a difference in in-flight refueling time and ground takeoff fuel volume, each time a tanker is refueled is expected to increase the operational radius of a combat aircraft by at least approximately 50%.

The first aerial refueling of the KF-21 will be followed by further flight tests to continue verifying the performance required for these aircraft, which must be achieved by the first half of 2026, after obtaining an provisional combat suitability evaluation in May 2023.

Source: 국방 NEWS


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