South Korea’s indigenously developed KF-21 ‘Boramae’ recently concluded its first flight which was impressive in many ways since this was done as per the schedule and flat in 7 years since the program was announced. South Korea’s Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) being a close and significant partner with the US military and defense industry has benefitted a lot from these tie-ups which is one of the main reasons why they managed to pull this off.

KAI’s KF-21 program is backed by American giant Lockheed Martin which is providing several components to design consultancy for the program. The list of components and systems that were supplied to the KF-21 program involves everything from brake pads, flight controls systems, LRUs, landing gear, avionics, canopy, oxygen generator, Radar, engine, ejection seats, and even the software management system of the aircraft and it is a staggering list of imported systems plus numerous industrial grade tools and consultancy to fall back to for technical developments.

KAI says by the time KF-21 Block III is out which is touted to be a true stealth fighter variant by 2035, KAI might have indigenized most of the systems locally but till then it’s just a 4.5gen fighter jet with elements of 5th generation fighter which is still in making. But the fact remains that it has 20 out of 24 main subsystems of US origin and 1 of Israeli origin and the program is heavily backed by American defense industrial partners the best money can buy.

When compared to India’s Tejas Mk1 program, Indigenous content of the Mk1 is 59.7 percent by value and 75.5 percent by number with MkII Indigenous content will have more than 70 percent by value with the engine making up for 30 percent but by number, it might cross 85 percent when it enters production. Many of the main subsystems will be of Indian origin with only Ejection seats and engines of foreign origin which interestingly will also be replaced after entering service with Indian-made ones further driving Indigenous content.

AMCA program for India is a whole new different ball game where next-generation technology in development for the program is much more intense than for other programs but it also will see many systems and sub-systems that might be a world first and with each fighter jet program Indian scientist and engineers are growing with the confidence of having import free fighter jet systems in the newer jet and drive up Indigenous content.

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Article by RAJESH AHUJA/,  cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or