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South Korea allocates additional funding for KF-21 air-to-ground missile

South Korea's development of a new air-to-ground missile for its KF-21 fighter jet will very likely improve the ability of the RoKAF to conduct sustained long-range strikes. (DAPA/Janes)

South Korea has allocated additional funding to continue the development of a new air-to-ground missile being built for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21 Boramae fighter jet.

In an announcement on 12 December, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said that it will invest KRW190 billion (USD146.07 million) in the project. DAPA told Janes that the funding will enable the development of a system for the use of the domestic long-range missile.

According to information held by Janes , the South Korean Agency for Defense Development (ADD) began development of this missile in 2019. In September 2021, South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced that the missile had undergone an aircraft separation flight test from a Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) F-4E Phantom II aircraft.

With the initial phase of development having been completed in 2021, the new contract will continue development of the missile from December 2022. The investment will cover development up to 2028, DAPA added.

Janes assesses that the new contract marks the completion of explorative development and transitions the project to full-scale development.

DAPA told Janes that the missile is intended to complement the Taurus GmbH KEPD 350K air-launched cruise missile, which is operational with the RoKAF. According to Janes data, South Korea has 240 KEPD 350Ks in service. Some South Korean media have dubbed the new missile as the ‘Cheonryong' or ‘Sky Dragon' air-to-surface missile. South Korea's Defense Media Agency (DEMA) has described the new missile as the ‘Korean Taurus'.

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