26 November 2015
AESA radar for KFX aircraft (image : chosun)
This is a prototype of the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, key to the Korean Fighter Experimental jet project.
The radar functions as the eyes and brain of a fighter jet.
The yellow modules act as antennas in airborne operations -- detecting and tracking enemy fighter jets and directing missiles.
The AESA radar is one of the four core technologies the U.S. government barred Lockheed Martin from transferring to Korea, after Korea contracted with Lockheed to buy 40 F-35As.
There was concern the loss of the tech would slow the project down, but the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) now says Seoul is capable of developing the radar on its own.
"We are currently in the last stage of testing this hardware on land. If we proceed with the testing, we can convert it for fighter jet use."
"The Agency for Defense Development says it has developed about 70 to 75 percent of the technology for the radar. The critical point now is miniaturizing the radar so it's small enough to fit on a fighter jet."
The agency is aiming to have the radar fully developed by 2021.
It then plans to conduct more than 100 test flights over the following three to four years and will integrate it into the KF-X project from 2025 to 2028.
The agency also said it has completed development of the three other key technologies the U.S. government refused to transfer to Korea -- an infrared search and track sensor, an electro-optical targeting pod and a radio frequency jammer.
The ADD says it has integrated the technologies into ships and some aircraft, adding that it won't be hard to apply them to the fighter jets.
The KF-X project, worth six.seven billion U.S. dollars, aims to develop 120 fighter jets by 2025 to replace its aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s.