Korea General RoK Air Force News & Developments

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The US State Department has approved the sale to South Korea of additional Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (AAMs) for an estimated USD158.1 million.

A US Air Force F-35A fitted with AIM-9X missiles on its external hardpoints. South Korea has been cleared to buy a further batch of missiles to equip its combat aircraft force, which also includes the F-35A. (US Air Force)

A US Air Force F-35A fitted with AIM-9X missiles on its external hardpoints. South Korea has been cleared to buy a further batch of missiles to equip its combat aircraft force, which also includes the F-35A. (US Air Force)

The approval, announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 1 October, covers 115 of the latest variant Sidewinder AAMs, as well as training missiles, ancillary equipment, and services.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a treaty ally that continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in Northeast Asia,” the DSCA said in its notification.

The sale must first be approved by the US Congress before any contract can be signed.

Compared with the Block I missile, the Block II features a redesigned fuze, as well as new onboard processors, rocket motor battery, ignition safety device, and datalink. According to Janes Weapons: Air-Launched the DSU-37/B (modified DSU-15B/B) laser proximity fuze is replaced with a more modern system (the DSU-41 Advanced Optical Detector System), making more space available inside the missile body for additional capabilities to be incorporated.

 

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President Moon Jae-in flew on a Peace Eye military aircraft early Friday and inspected South Korea's combat readiness in a show of commitment to national defense on New Year's Day, the presidential office said.

It is the first time that a South Korean president has flown on the airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft regarded as a core part of the South Korean Air Force, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

The E-737 Peace Eye took off with Moon aboard at around 6:30 a.m. from the military airfield in Seongnam, south of Seoul, after the president was briefed on details of the plane by Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Won In-choul.

The aircraft flew for about two hours over South Korea's territorial sea and land, it added.
Later, Moon praised soldiers for training day and night to keep a high level of military readiness and thanked them for their sacrifice to keep the country safe and help people enjoy New Year's Day in peace, the presidential office said.

President Moon Jae-in (C) inspects South Korea's combat readiness aboard a Peace Eye aircraft during its two-hour patrol mission on Jan. 1, 2021, in this photo provided by his office.

President Moon Jae-in (C) inspects South Korea's combat readiness aboard a Peace Eye aircraft during its two-hour patrol mission on Jan. 1, 2021, in this photo provided by his office.

 

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South Korea’s SBS television station reports that the United States is asking for $266 million from South Korea for the upgrade of its F-35A fleet. Claiming 300 billion won for'upgrade' after 2 years of F-35 introduction.


Our Air Force is introducing stealth fighter F-35 from the US. It has been two years since the acquisition of Unit 1 and only one year and three months since it was deployed, but it was confirmed as a result of SBS interview that the US has notified that it will improve its performance.

The cost is 300 billion won, exceeding the value of the three F-35s. This is an exclusive report by Kim Tae-hoon, a national defense reporter In March last year, two stealth fighter F-35s manufactured by Lockheed Martin of the United States were delivered to the Korean Air Force for the first time.


We have acquired more than 20 units so far, and 10 more units by the end of this year, with a total of 40 units. It's been one year and three months since it has been electrified, that is, its actual deployment, and performance improvements are already being promoted. An official from the radiation agency said, "Last year, the F-35 performance improvement notification came from the United States, and discussions are underway." The primary performance improvement is the installation of four additional armament-related equipment, such as air-to-ship missiles, and upgrading avionics software in the mid-to-late 2020s.

The cost of performance improvement for 40s is 300 billion won, which is the value of 3-4 F-35s. It is common to improve the performance of a fighter after operating it for at least a dozen years, but it is very unusual for a performance improvement plan to come out like this without flying a few times. [Shin Jong-Woo/Responsible Analyst for Korea Defense Security Forum: The F-35 is a fighter that applies an evolutionary development method that steadily improves its performance from shipment to rejection.

This is the first case and it seems to have to be carefully weighed as it requires a large budget.] Since the second and third improvement cannot be performed without improving the performance this time, the Air Force and the Radiation Administration are considering responding to crying and eating mustard. However, controversy is expected during the parliamentary budget review process. There are voices that it is necessary to accurately weigh the performance improvement process and cost within the ruling party as well as the opposition party.

 

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A Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) KF-16D #92-4046 is now assigned to the 416th Flight Test Squadron and the jet recently drop a GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) as part of its testing for the F-16V upgrade program.



A General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 416th Flight Test Squadron successfully performed a GBU-39 bomb drop flight test. Guided Bomb Unit 39 is a precision-guided glide bomb weighing only 250 lb — allowing aircraft to carry a larger number of smart, more precise and efficient weapons. This test, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, California, was in support of the Republic of Korea F-16 Update Program.

Credit: Ethan Wagner, USAF.


The ROKAF currently operates 170 KF-16C/D Block 50/52 fighter aircraft, 134 of which will are undergoing extensive modernization and upgrades as part of a comprehensive improvement program. Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.2 billion contract to retrofit the 134 KF-16s and upgrade them to the advanced F-16V configuration—the latest and technologically most advanced version of the fourth generation fighter jet.

The JHMCS II is part of this modernization drive. “The ROKAF version of the JHMCS II helmet provides pilots with enhanced situational awareness during day and night missions with immediate and accurate visor-projected display of friendly, threat, and unknown targets,” the Elbit Systems statement reads. “Like its predecessor, the combat-proven JHMCS, the JHMCS II provides pilots and aircrew the capability to direct sensors and aim weapons.”

Next to the JHMCS II, South Korea’s fleet of KF-16s with advanced weapons systems including the AIM-120 mid-range air-to-air missile and the GBU-31JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) air-to-ground guided bomb under he ROKAF’s F-16 Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) program, which began in November 2009. “The upgraded F-16 PBUs will have the same capability of the KF-16 jets and will operate as the main combat planes charged with defending South Korea’s air,” a ROKAF official said in 2016.



The PBU program will also include upgrades to “an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution center pedestal display and a high-volume and high-speed data bus,” according to a 2016 Lockheed Martin press statement. A 2015 statement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) emphasizes that the PBU program aims to ensure “interoperability and continued relations between the ROK and the U.S. Government for the foreseeable future.”

The upgrade of all 134 aircraft is expected to be completed by November 2025.
 

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A KF-16 fighter jet takes off at an air base in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, on June 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

An Air Force pilot on Tuesday made an emergency exit from his KF-16 fighter jet during a takeoff run after detecting unspecified problems with the jet, forcing the Air Force to suspend all flights for aircraft inspection, officials said.


The fighter jet was moving on the runway to take off from the 20th Fighter Wing in the western city of Seosan when the pilot spotted problems and ejected, according to the military.

He sustained no injuries, but the aircraft was damaged and is currently on the strip, it added.

"The Air Force immediately halted the operations of all types of military aircraft, and formed an investigation team to learn the exact cause of the accident," an official said. (Yonhap)

 

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A South Korean military blogger visited the South Korean Air Force and interviewed pilots and soldiers who had F-35 experience.

"F-35'S UNDER THE STRONG CONTROL OF THE USA"

The pilots, who shared striking information with the blogger, said that the F-35 warplanes, whose independence was questioned, are under the tight control of the USA.

“WE HAVE TO EXPECT THE PASSWORD TO SEND EVERY DAY”


South Korean F-35 pilots, who stated that they could use warplanes with the password coming from the USA, claimed that they had to wait for the passwords to be sent every day.

"WE CAN'T EVEN BOOT WITHOUT PASSWORD"

South Korean soldiers claimed that if the US Air Force did not send the LINK-16 data connection password, they could not boot even if the South Korean army was in combat conditions.

“OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE IS IN THE HANDS OF THE USA”

South Korean soldiers claiming that the F-35s are in the hands of the US "South Korea's national defense is in the hands of the US military because of the US high command. The US does not seem to treat this important ally like a human." he said.
I know which blog it is the article is mentioning. Said blog is ran by a team which also publishes a Korean military magazine called Defense Review. It's an unreliable media with lots of wrong claims in their articles. This particular article was met with a lot of criticism for the sheer amount of misinformation.

No, there were no Korean pilots or soldoers interviewed. No, the F-35 doesn't need any "codes" to boot or start up. What the magazine article/blog post mentioned was the code for Link 16 connection, which is updated every day. Publishing of Link 16 codes are controlled by the respective US commands in each theater around the globe and any of these "restrictions" the article is mentioning also applies to every allied forces that uses Link 16, including Türkiye.
 

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South Korea to upgrade F-15Ks; buy more tankers​

By Greg Waldron, 29 December 2022

Seoul has approved a plan to upgrade Boeing F-15K ‘Slam Eagle’ fighters operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), as well as plans to obtain additional tanker aircraft.

The F-15K performance update project will run from 2024-34, and see the fighters receive a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, new mission computer, and new electronic warfare (EW) suite, according to South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

Boeing F-15k ROKAF Korea

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal
An F-15K of the Republic of Korea Air Force at Seoul ADEX in October 2015

Seoul will allocate W3.46 trillion ($3.8 billion) to the programme and says that buying overseas has been cleared for the upgrade work.

Cirium fleets data shows that ROKAF operates 59 F-15Ks with an average age of 14.1 years. Seoul received its last pair of F-15Ks in April 2022.
Originally unveiled in 2005, the F-15K is equipped with the electronically-scanned Raytheon APG-63V(1) radar.
While DAPA did not state a new radar type, a clear option is the APG-82(V)1 AESA that equips the new F-15EX.

The F-15EX’s Honeywell ADCP-II mission computer – which Boeing claims is the “world’s fastest” - and the BAE Systems Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System EW kit could also be options for South Korea’s F-15Ks.

South Korea is also developing an indigenous AESA radar for the developmental Korea Aerospace Industries KF-21 fighter.

ROKAF A330 MRTT Airbus

Source: Republic of Korea Air Force
An A330 MRTT of the Republic of Korea Air Force refuels a KF-16 fighter

In addition, DAPA has earmarked W1.2 trillion to obtain an unspecified number of new air-to-air refuelling tankers - official news agency Yonhap reports that two tankers will be obtained.
It foresees the new tankers enhancing the range ROKAF fighters and performing long-distance airlift missions. Moreover, Seoul expects that its international standing among allies will be “greatly enhanced” by additional tanker assets, as it will allow ROKAF to support long-range missions during peace and war.

Seoul already operates four Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports with an average age of 4.8 years.

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/south-korea-to-upgrade-f-15ks-buy-more-tankers/151482.article
 

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Boeing is charging so much money for rather simple upgrades and sucking ROKAF dry. F-15K’s spare parts supply and only US-authorized maintenance of sensitive parts is also a pain in the ass 🙄
 

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On December 28, the government announced plans to upgrade the F-15K (59 units). The performance upgrade targets include radar, mission computers, and Electronic Warfare systems. (Details not yet published X) The upgrade period is between 2024 and 2034, and the cost is about 3.46 trillion won.
화면 캡처 2022-12-30 134212.jpg
 

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화면 캡처 2023-04-10 220138.jpg

The annual production capacity found in KAI's Earnings Presentation.

This is not to say that KAI is currently producing at this rate, but rather that this is the maximum Capa they can produce in a given year and the maximum number of workers they can produce with in their current production facility.
t-50-golden-eagle-final-assembly-line_14042294032_o.jpg
fa-50-final-assembly-line_28129044546_o.jpg
kt-1-final-assembly-line_14066844541_o.jpg

The T-50 series (T-50, TA-50, FA-50) can produce 36 units per year with 330 employees. The KT-1 can produce 21 units with 67 employees.
수리온 파생형 단체사진.jpg
kuh-1-final-assembly-line_13859586714_o.jpg

In the rotorcraft department, the KUH series, LAH/LCH, can produce 35 units with 144 employees.
slide_img01.jpg

Aerostructures includes civil aircraft, A-10, Apache, etc.
slide_img01 (1).jpg

Aircrafts parts , propellant tank, etc. can also be found in the table.
 

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South Korea to purchase 20 more F-35A


 

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Good-bye, Goblins of the Sky!
Farewell Elephant Walk at Suwon Air Base for the last F-4E Phantoms in ROKAF soon to be retired and replaced by F-35A in June 2024.


- The first Elephant Walk involving all types of fighter jets
- Showing off the majesty of over 30 fighter jets, led by the F-4E Phantom, which will be retired in June

◦ On Friday, March 8, the Air Force conducted the ‘Elephant Walk’ exercise at Suwon Base in conjunction with the ’24 Freedom Shield (FS) exercise, showing off overwhelming air force power.

- Elephant Walk is a training exercise in which dozens of fighter jets are equipped with maximum weaponry and taxi in close formation on the runway right up to the stage just before takeoff in order to show off the majesty of air power and overwhelming retribution capabilities.

- The name Elephant Walk was given because the sight of dozens of fighter jets moving in formation looked like the steps of a herd of elephants.

◦ In particular, this Elephant Walk was carried out ahead of the retirement of the F-4E Phantom, with the added meaning of celebrating and honoring the honorable retirement of the Phantom, the ‘big brother’ of all fighter jets in the Air Force. All of our Air Force's F-4Es will be retired by June.

◦ On this day, eight F-4Es took the lead, followed by F-15K, KF-16, F-16, FA-50, F-5, and F-35A fighter jets. A total of 33 fighter jets made up the Elephant Walk formation.

- Until now, elephant walk training has been conducted with the full power of a single squadron. This is the first time that all types of fighter aircraft owned by our Air Force participated.

◦ The F-4E, which led the Elephant Walk from the front, displayed its majesty equipped with air-to-ground missiles AGM-142H (Popeye), AGM-65D (Maverick), and MK-82 500-pound bomb.

- The Republic of Korea Air Force introduced the F-4D, the world's most powerful new aircraft at the time, in 1969, becoming the fourth country to own the 'Phantom', following the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iran. With the introduction of the F-4D, which was called a ‘game changer,’ our Air Force was able to quickly defeat North Korea’s
Air power was overwhelmed. The Phantom is called the ‘Goblin of the Sky’ and served as the main fighter aircraft representing the Republic of Korea Air Force until the introduction of the KF-16 into service in 1994.

- In particular, the AGM-142 Popeye air-to-ground missile launched by the Phantom has tremendous explosive power, enough to penetrate 1.6m of reinforced concrete, but boasts a maximum range of about 100km and a CEP of less than 1m, it made a name for itself with this feared missile.

- After introducing the F-4D, the Korean Air Force operated about 220 Phantoms, including the improved F-4E and the reconnaissance RF-4C. Currently, most of them have been retired, and only about 10 F-4Es are guarding the mission field.

◦ Behind the F-4E, △ five F-15Ks with an armament of 10.5 tons and a range of 3,800 km, △ five KF-16s and F-16s, which are all-weather multipurpose fighters that form the main force of the Air Force, △ As a representative of K-Defense, five domestically produced fighter jets, FA-50, exported to four countries including Poland and the Philippines, and five F-5s, an immediate response force for the front lines and the metropolitan area, showed their grandeur one by one.

◦ Here, two F-35A stealth fighter jets flew low over the Elephant Walk formation, marking the culmination of the day's training. After completing a low-altitude flight, the F-35A landed and joined the formation.

◦ Interview with pilots participating in training
- (Major Kim Do-hyeong, 153rd Battalion, 10th Fighter Wing, 40 years old)
“I think it is very meaningful to be with the Phantom fighter jet, which will be remembered for its last active days. We are doing our best to give each sortie a historical meaning. “I will soon switch to a different model, but I will firmly defend the Republic of Korea with the pride of being a Phantom pilot.”

◦ Meanwhile, on this day, Air Force Chief of Staff Lee Young-soo visited the Elephant Walk site and encouraged the personnel who participated in the training.
- Chief of Staff Lee said, “I would like to give a warm round of applause to the Phantoms who have protected the Republic of Korea for 55 years, and the Phantom Men who have shared the ups and downs with the Phantoms.” He added, “Please do your best until you retire so that you can achieve a happy ending.” he requested.

- He also emphasized, “As demonstrated by today’s Elephant Walk training, we must become an air force that gives confidence to the public and causes fear to the enemy with the ability and readiness to overwhelmingly respond to any provocation by the enemy.” //end//
 
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