Many are skeptical the South Koreans can start production on their new KF-X stealth fighter by 2020. If their success in the global auto market is any measure, they will succeed.
In a seminar today at the Seoul Air Show, South Korean government officials outlined the strategy and plans for the KF-X, a twin-engined stealth fighter with a design goal of achieving manoeuvrability, speed and range performance between a Lockheed Martin F-16 and a Boeing F-15.
South Korea wants to develop the KF-X over the next nine years, with mass production beginning after 2020. Indonesia has already joined the programme, and talks with Turkey are continuing.
If developing an all-new stealth fighter is not enough of a challenge, South Korea also intends to equip the KF-X with a set of all-new weapons, including indigenous missiles in the Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM class, guided bombs and an anti-ship missile. South Korean officials have released a development budget estimate of about US$5 billion, which seems (wildly?) optimistic.