The domestically developed KF-21 Boramae fighter jet has made its first supersonic flight.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on Jan. 18 said the plane had a successful supersonic flight the day before at 3:15 p.m.
The first prototype of the plane in the afternoon took off from the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 3rd Flying Training Wing in Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet (12.2 km) and reaching Mach 1, or a speed of 1,224 km per hour.
The Boramae is the first domestically developed fighter jet to break the sound barrier, a milestone coming six months after its maiden flight in July last year.
The KF-21 is the world’s eighth 4.5-generation fighter jet with cutting-edge and supersonic capabilities. Other countries that have developed such jets include the U.S., Russia, China, France, Japan and Sweden; four countries in Europe — the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain — also jointly developed a model.
In 2003, Korea’s advanced trainer jet T-50 Golden Eagle achieved supersonic flight but this plane was developed through technological cooperation with the U.S.
DAPA said, “The KF-21 flew normally by overcoming shockwaves when it broke the sound barrier, showing that its structural stability can be maintained at supersonic speeds.”
Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-Sup added, “The success of this supersonic flight not only further cemented the foundation for making our military strong in science and technology, but was also a milestone in Korea taking a step forward as one of the world’s four major exporters in the defense industry.”