South Korea to develop supersonic cruise missile for KF-X fighters

South Korea is planning to develop a new supersonic air-to-surface missile (ASM) that is expected to be carried by the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) future Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) multirole fighter aircraft.

A Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) official told Janes on 30 June that the weapon is expected to fly at speeds in excess of Mach 2.5, weigh less than 3,000 lb (1.36 tonnes) and have a range of at least 250 km.

No further details were provided about the ASM.

The revelation comes after Janes reported on 28 May that South Korea had recently completed the selection process for the precision-guided munitions and guidance kits it plans to integrate with the KF-X, which is being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), with PT Dirgantara Indonesia as KAI’s industry partner on the project.

South Korean military officials told Janes on 28 May that Raytheon’s GBU-12 Paveway II, Boeing’s GBU-31/38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), GBU-54/56 Laser JDAM, and GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb1 (SDB1), as well as Textron’s Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) CBU-105 had all been selected for integration with the KF-X.

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They said the integration process for the smart bombs and guidance kits, all of which are already in service with the RoKAF, would start later this year, with full integration expected over the coming six to seven years.

The move comes after MBDA Missile Systems announced in November 2019 that it had been awarded a contract for the integration of its Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) with the KF-X.

Also set for integration is the IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) by Germany’s Diehl Defence, with a contract expected to be signed in the near future.

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