South Korea unveiled a prototype of its first domestically developed fighter jet on Friday and President Moon Jae-in hailed the KF-X as the future backbone of the air force and a step toward the U.S. ally’s greater military independence.
The next-generation aircraft developed by Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) is designed to be a cheaper, less-stealthy alternative to the U.S.-built F-35, on which South Korea relies.
The display at the KAI headquarters in the southern city of Sacheon was attended by Moon and representatives from Indonesia, which partnered with South Korea on the project.
“A new era of independent defence has begun,” Moon said, according to a transcript of his comments released by his office.
The advantages of having a domestically produced fighter could not be overstated, he added.