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South Korea announces new aircraft engine factory

A new engine factory being developed by Hanwha Aerospace at Changwon will produce engines for the KAI KF-21 and the TA-50 multirole trainer aircraft. (Zhang Hui/VCG via Getty Images)

Hanwha Aerospace is building a new factory to produce engines for combat aircraft, including the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21 Boramae 4.5-generation aircraft. The new factory is also expected to support the development of South Korea's new domestic fighter engine programme.

Ground was broken for the 16,530m 2 engine production facility at Changwon on 15 April 2024, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on 17 April. The factory is being developed at a cost of USD30 million and is scheduled to be operational by 2025. The MND added that the factory's priority is the licence production of the 92.1 kN (20,700 lb st) General Electric F414-GE-400 engine for the KF-21.

A Hanwha Aerospace spokesperson told Janes on 19 April that “100%” of the licence manufacture of the F414 engine will be achieved at this factory. “The facility is expected to produce approximately 300 engines annually [after becoming operational], the spokesperson added.

The new factory is also expected to support the development of a new South Korean 15,000 lbf-class turbofan engine for fighter aircraft. Janes previously reported that Hanwha Aerospace is developing this engine as part of a national plan announced by South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) on 26 December 2023.

Initially, it was believed that this 15,000 lbf engine would be used to power future versions of the KAI TA-50/FA-50 trainer and light combat aircraft. However, the Hanwha Aerospace spokesperson said that the engine's maximum thrust is projected “to be 23,000 lbf with afterburner, pending final concept research”.

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