Hanwha Aerospace wins KF-21 engine deal

South Korean defence prime Hanwha Aerospace announced on 25 June that it signed a contract with the state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to supply engines for the first batch of KF-21 Boramae multirole combat aircraft.

Hanwha Aerospace stated that the contract is worth approximately US$401 and will be in force from June 2024 to December 2027, during which the company will deliver over 40 F414 engines and spare modules for the KF-21, as well as provide engine maintenance manuals and on-site technical support.

“As Korea’s only specialized aircraft engine company, we are committed to supplying high-quality engines without delay,” said a Hanwha Aerospace spokesperson. “We will dedicate all our resources to developing independent aviation engine technology for national defense and securing future growth opportunities for Korea.”

Hanwha Aerospace signed an agreement with GE Aerospace in July 2016 to perform local assembly and local manufacture of parts for the F414-GE-400 engine, as well as support flight testing and maintenance infrastructure development with the aim of eventual license production of the engine itself.

The agreement follows the selection of GE Aerospace to supply the F414 engine for the KF-X development programme which resulted in the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21.

“Manufacturing the KF-X engines will stabilize the local production systems and the supply of frequently replaced parts, and this will pave the way to reducing operating costs while enhancing the combat readiness of the Republic of Korea Air Force [RoKAF],” a company spokesperson earlier stated.

The F414 engine for the KF-21 will be produced under license at the company’s Changwon Plant 1 facility.

Hanwha Aerospace said it has produced over 10,000 engines over the past 45 years and has supplied engines for RoKAF aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom, KF-5 Jegong-ho, KF-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15K Slam Eagle, and T-50 Golden Eagle, through license production.

The company plans to develop a fully indigenous 6th generation engine with a thrust of 15,000lb (66.8kN) that will power Block III production examples of the KF-21 in the second half of the 2030s.

by Jr Ng