By Oh Seok-min
SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has produced a prototype of an advanced radar system for its indigenous fighter jet under development, the arms procurement agency said Friday.
The active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system has been under development since 2016 by the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) as a key part of the envisioned KF-X fighter aircraft.
Dubbed the eyes of the aircraft, the AESA radar system can detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and extensively, as the beam of radio waves is electronically steered to a point in different directions without moving the antenna, according to the ADD.
The prototype will be installed on a mock-up of the jet and go through other due procedures, such as the systems integration and flight tests, until 2026, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
"There has been skepticism about whether it could be developed successfully at home without technology transfer from overseas, but we finally made it," DAPA official Choi Ho-cheon said during a ceremony to mark the release of the prototype.
"I expect the radar and the fighter aircraft to be highly competitive in the global market," he said.
South Korea launched the 8.8 trillion won (US$7.43 billion) KF-X project in 2016 to develop the home-grown fighter jet by 2026 to replace the country's aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 aircraft.
The indigenous jet is designed to be able to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.81, with its flying range reaching 2,900 kilometers. It bears outward similarities to the fifth-generation F-35A, according to the Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI) in charge of the project.
With a maximum payload of 7,700 kilograms, the fighter is capable of installing 10 pods for missiles and fuel barrels. It will be able to carry several types of air-to-air missiles, such as Germany's IRIS-T and European developer MBDA's active radar guided Meteor missiles, it added.
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