Homegrown fighter jet KF-21 makes public debut at Seoul defense exhibition

South Korea's homegrown fighter jet KF-21 made its public debut on Monday, ahead of an international defense exhibition set to open at the Seoul Air Base this week.

The KF-21, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), staged an aerial demonstration at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, during a press day event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023, which opens Tuesday for a six-day run.

South Korea's homegrown fighter jet KF-21 stages an aerial demonstration during a press event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 16, 2023. It is the first time that the KF-21 was disclosed to the public. (Yonhap)

South Korea's homegrown fighter jet KF-21 stages an aerial demonstration during a press event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 16, 2023. It is the first time that the KF-21 was disclosed to the public. (Yonhap)

Advanced U.S. military aircraft, including the F-22 stealth jet and carrier-based electronics warfare aircraft EA-18G Growler, were among those on display at the base's air field.

During the exhibition, the U.S strategic bomber B-52 plans to stage two flyovers as part of a larger cross-section of U.S. military aircraft providing static displays, flyovers and aerial demonstrations, the U.S. Forces Korea said.

The U.S. stealth jet F-22 stages an aerial demonstration during a press event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 16, 2023. (Yonhap)

The U.S. stealth jet F-22 stages an aerial demonstration during a press event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 16, 2023. (Yonhap)

This year's event will be held on the largest scale since it was established in 1996, involving 550 companies from 35 countries, according to the organizers.

South Korean companies plan to showcase their latest weapons systems and technologies to boost defense exports following large-scale export deals in Poland.

Last year, South Korea's arms exports hit a record high of 22.9 trillion won ($17.9 billion), according to Morgan Stanley, as it signed major contracts with Poland to supply K2 tanks, K-9 self-propelled howitzers, FA-50 light attack aircraft and Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers.

The defense ministry has unveiled a goal to carve out a 5 percent share in the global arms export market by 2027 to become the world's fourth-largest defense exporter.

The K-9 self-propelled howitzer is disclosed during a press event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 16, 2023. (Yonhap)

The K-9 self-propelled howitzer is disclosed during a press event for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held at the Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 16, 2023. (Yonhap)

LIG Nex1 will display the Korean GPS Guided Bomb (KGGB) that can be used in fighter aircraft; a long-range air-to-surface missile; surface-to-surface guided missiles and drones.

Hyundai Rotem is set to disclose the latest models of the K808 wheeled armored vehicle for the first time to the public, along with its flagship model K2 tankers and battle tanks.

Hanwha Aerospace will showcase K-9 self-propelled howitzers, which are in service in nine countries, including South Korea, Turkey, Poland, India and Australia.

The first four days will host various seminars and forums for defense industry officials before the exhibition is opened to the general public in the last two days.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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