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South Korea’s KF-X future fighter getting Meteor air-to-air missile

KF-X with Meteor air-to-air missile
MBDA photo of KF-X with Meteor missiles

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has contracted French missile specialist MBDA for the integration of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile onto the country’s KF-X future fighter aircraft.

The contract includes integration support to KAI, transfer of know-how and manufacture of test equipment for the KF-X integration and trials campaign.

Meteor features ramjet propulsion system that allows it to fly further and faster than any other air-to-air missile, according to the missile maker who says that the feature allows the missile to defeat maneuvering targets.

The throttleable ramjet motor ensures that the missile has maximum thrust when it is most required. Guided by an advanced active radar seeker, Meteor provides capability to engage fast jets to small unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

The missile will also be integrated onto British F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) stealth jets.

“We’re very pleased to mark this next and important step in our partnership with KAI and the Korean Defence Acquisition Program Administration. South Korea is a strategic market for MBDA, and we’re proud that Meteor will be providing KF-X with the world’s most potent air-to-air capability,” Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said.

The South Korean KF-X will be a fifth-generation fighter jet which has passed the critical design review stage. The first prototype is set for a 2021 appearance.

With capabilities comparable to the advanced versions of the F-16, the KF-X is envisioned to replace McDonnell Douglas F-4s and Northrop F-5s currently flown by the South Korean Air Force.