Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) has contracted Cobham to provide weapons carriage and release equipment for the future Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) multi-role fighter aircraft.
Valued at more than £7m, the contract requires Cobham Mission Systems to deliver an undisclosed number of missile eject launcher (MEL) units to KAI for KF-X by the end of 2020.
The MEL is a specialised unit designed to carry and release air-to-air missiles from fast jet aircraft.
Capable of providing long-stroke rapid ejection to ensure safe missile/aircraft separation on launch, the MEL units have been developed and specifically tailored for the F-4 Phantom, Tornado GR4, and Eurofighter Typhoon.
Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne senior vice-president and general manager Ken Kota said: “Cobham’s MEL is an established market leader and continues to deliver consistently high performance and reliable service.
“It is a highly robust, long-stroke ejection system that allows the interchangeable carriage and release of either Meteor or AMRAAM air-to-air missiles without role change.”
Under a contract signed between South Korean Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and KAI, the KF-X is being developed indigenously with technological assistance from Lockheed Martin.
The contract will see KIA develop six test planes and complete system developments for the jets by June 2026.
The first flight of the newly developed aircraft is expected to be conducted in 2022, while it is intended to replace the Republic of Korea Air Force’s current fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighters.
Image: The KF-X is being developed indigenously with technological assistance from Lockheed Martin. Photo: courtesy of Cobham plc.