GE Aviation delivered the first F414-GE-400K turbofan engine to Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) for South Korea’s next-generation KF-X indigenous fighter aircraft program, in May.
Developed for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), the F414-powered KF-X will deliver significantly greater mission capability, extended combat radius and longer lifespan compared to current aircraft.
“GE is thrilled to reach this important milestone in the KF-X program,” said Al DiLibero, general manager of GE’s Medium Combat & Trainer Engines department. “Our success so far on this program reflects the strong relationship between the ROKAF, our South Korean industry partners and GE Aviation, and the long and successful history of our engines powering ROKAF aircraft.”
KAI selected GE Aviation in May 2016 to supply F414-GE-400K engines for the KF-X fighter. The multi-role KF-X aircraft, a $7.4 billion project, is being designed and built by KAI. The KF-X aircraft will replace Korea’s F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fleet.
The development program is scheduled to be completed in 2026, which includes the production of 15 F414 flight test engines and six prototype fighters by 2021. Flight testing will occur in 2023. 120 KF-X aircraft are scheduled for production serving the South Korean armed forces. GE Aviation will provide 240 F414 production engines plus spares.
GE has partnered with South Korea many times to power aircraft in its inventory. GE’s F404 engines currently power South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle, a high-performance supersonic trainer developed with KAI for the ROKAF. GE’s T700 turboshaft engines power the KAI KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter. Additionally, GE’s F110 engines power the ROKAF’s F-15K Slam Eagle fighter aircraft.
GE’s F414 afterburning turbofan engine went into service in 1998 and has flown more than 4.6 million flight hours with more than 1,750 engines delivered. In addition to the KF-X, the F414 powers Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, Saab’s JAS 39E/F Gripen, India’s Tejas Mark 2, and Lockheed Martin and NASA’s X-59 QueSST experimental aircraft.