KAI expands missile repertoire for KF-21 and FA-50 aircraft with Diehl


Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), manufacturer and aircraft authority of the FA-50 light attack and KF-21 Boramae multirole combat aircraft, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Germany’s Diehl Defence to integrate the latter’s IRIS-T medium range infrared homing air-to-air missile aboard the aircraft.

“The purpose of the agreement is the joint goal to integrate the IRIS-T missile into FA-50/T-50 and KF-21 Block II aircraft,” stated Diehl, noting that agreement was signed by KAI CEO Kang Goo-Young and Chief Program Officer and member of the Diehl Defence Division Board Dr Harald Buschek.

“In addition, the MoU covers the collaboration of working groups on marketing efforts for KAI aircraft equipped with Diehl Defence missiles,” added the company. “Finally, both companies agree to investigate the possibility to modify or further develop missile systems from Diehl Defence for Korea’s indigenous aircraft programs.”

Diehl Defence and KAI have worked together for a number of years by now, combining Diehl Defence’s experience and capabilities in the field of development, production and integration of missile systems with KAI’s track record with successfully launching and managing military aircraft programs. The collaboration began in 2017 with the start of the integration of IRIS-T into the KF-21 Block I fighter.

The latest agreement comes after KAI signed an agreement with MBDA in November 2023 to explore new opportunities for the integration of new MBDA weapons onto KAI aircraft platforms. It also provisions for joint marketing of their respective products.

New areas of cooperation being explored under the new agreement include the integration of the latest MBDA weapons such as Selective Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR), Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), and Brimstone onto KAI platforms such as KF-21 and FA-50.

The agreement was signed by Managing Director of MBDA UK Chris Allam and KAI CEO Kang Goo-young in London on the sidelines of a state visit by South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol.

MBDA also earlier announced in October 2023 that it has been awarded a contract from KAI to supply and integrate its Mistral Air-to-Air Missile (ATAM) system on the Korean Marine Attack Helicopter (KMAH).

by Jr Ng