definition of Wikipedia
|Republic of Korea Air Force
대한민국 공군 (Daehanminguk Gong-gun)
Mark of the Republic of Korea Air Force
|Active||October 1, 1949 – present|
|Country||Republic of Korea|
|Part of||Ministry of National Defense|
|Mascot||Haneuli / Purumae|
War on Terrorism
|Air Force Chief of Staff||General Park, Jong-heon (2010.9.30~)|
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROK Air Force, ROKAF, Hangul: 대한민국 공군, Hanja: 大韓民國 空軍, Revised Romanization: Daehanminguk Gong-gun) is the air force of South Korea. It operates under the Ministry of National Defense.
The ROKAF has about 500 combat aircraft of American design, plus a few Russian, European, and indigenously designed aircraft.
Shortly after the end of World War II, the Korean Air Construction Association was founded on August 10, 1946 to publicize the importance of air power. Despite the then-scanty status of Korean armed forces, the first air unit was formed on May 5, 1948 under the direction of Dong Wi-bu, the forerunner to the modern Korean Ministry of National Defence. On September 13, 1949, the United States contributed 10 L-4 Grasshopper observation aircraft to the Korean air unit. An Army Air Academy was founded on January, 1949, and the ROKAF was officially founded on October, 1949.
The 1950s were a critical time for the ROKAF as it expanded tremendously during the Korean War. At the outbreak of the war, the ROKAF consisted of 1,800 personnel but was equipped with only 20 trainer and liaison aircraft, including 10 North American T-6 Texan (Korean:건국기, Hanja: 建國機, Geongukgi) advanced trainers purchased from Canada. The North Korean air force had acquired a considerable number of Yak-9 and La-7 fighters from the Soviet Union, dwarfing the ROKAF in terms of size and strength. However, during the course of the war, the ROKAF acquired 110 aircraft: 79 fighter-bombers, three fighter squadrons, and one fighter wing. The first combat aircraft received were North American F-51D Mustangs, along with a contingent of US Air Force instructor pilots under the command of Major Dean Hess. The ROKAF participated in bombing operations and flew independent sorties. After the war, the ROKAF Headquarters was moved to Daebangdong, Seoul. Air Force University was also founded in 1956.
To counter the threat of possible North Korean aggression, the ROKAF underwent a substantial capability enhancement. The ROKAF acquired T-28 trainers, F-86D night- and all-weather interceptors, F-5 fighters and F-4D fighter bombers. Air Force Operations Command was established in 1961 to secure efficient command and control facilities. Air Force Logistics Command was established in 1966, and emergency runways were constructed for emergency use during wartime. The Eunma Unit was founded in 1966 to operate C-46 aircraft used to support Republic of Korea Army and Republic of Korea Marine Corps units serving in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The ROKAF was posed with a security risk, with an increasingly belligerent North Korea throughout the 1970s. The South Korean government increased its expenditure on the ROKAF, resulting in purchase of F-5E fighters in August 1974 and F-4E fighter bombers. Support aircraft, such as C-123s and S-2s were also purchased at the time. Great emphasis was placed in the flight training program; new trainer aircraft (T-41 and T-37) were purchased, and the Air Force Education & Training Command was also founded in 1973 to consolidate and enhance the quality of personnel training.
The ROKAF concentrated on qualitative expansion of aircraft to catch up to the strength of North Korean Air Force. In 1982, Korean variants of the F-5E, the Jegong-ho (hangul:제공호, hanja:制空號) were first produced. The ROKAF gathered a good deal of information on the North Korean Air Force when Captain Lee Woong-pyeong, a North Korean pilot, defected to South Korea. The Korean Combat Operations Information center was soon formed and the Air Defence System was automated to attain air superiority against North Korea. When the 1988 Seoul Olympics was held in South Korea, the ROKAF contributed to the success of this event by helping to oversee the entire security system. The ROKAF also moved its headquarters and the Air Force Education & Training Command to other locations. Forty F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters were purchased in 1989.
South Korea committed its support for the coalition force during the Persian Gulf War. The Bima Unit was formed to participate in Operation Desert Storm. The ROKAF also provided airlift support for peacekeeping operations in Somalia in 1993. The increased participation in international operations depicted the ROKAF's elevated international position. Over 180 KF-16 fighters of F-16 Block 52 specifications were introduced as part of the Peace Bridge II & III program from 1994. In 1997, for the first time in Korean aviation history, female cadets were accepted into the Korean Air Force Academy.
South Korea maintains the modern South Korean Air Force in order to defend itself from various threats, including that of the North Korean Army and North Korean Air Force, which fields about twice as many aircraft (mostly older and obsolescent Soviet-designed fighters). As of 2008, the South Korean Air Force flew more than 180 KF-16, 174 F-5E/F, 130 F-4D/E, 39 F-15K (with 21 additional F-15Ks expected to be delivered between 2010 and 2012), and a number of South Korean-made T-50 among its combat aircraft. The last of the old South Korean 60 F-5A/B fighters were all retired in August 2007, and they are being replaced with the F-15K and F/A-50. The South Korean variant the of F-15E were named the F-15K Slam Eagle due to their capability to launch the SLAM-ER missiles and Harpoon Missiles. South Korea became one of the world's few aircraft exporters when it sold 19 KT-1B trainer aircraft to Indonesia in 2003. Korean Aerospace Industries, the South Korean national aerospace company, has plans to export more KT-1 and T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer aircraft to other countries. In addition, the Ilyushin Il-103 prop-driven trainer has replaced the T-41 in the primary training role.
The Republic of Korea Air Force also expressed interests in acquiring the RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) and a number of Joint Direct Attack Munition conversion kits to further improve its intelligence and offensive capabilities.
On 20 October 2009, Bruce S. Lemkin, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force said that the ROKAF's limited intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities increased the risk of instability on the Korean Peninsula and suggested the purchase of American systems such as the F-35 Lightning II to close this gap.
One of the most recent additions to the ROKAF is F-15K Slam Eagle (Korean: F-15K 슬램 이글), an advanced derivative of the F-15E Strike Eagle which fulfilled the requirements of the "F-X" next generation fighter program in 2002. The F-15K was chosen over the Dassault Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Russian Sukhoi Su-35. Although the Rafale fighter received more favorable reviews from the senior military officials, the F-15K was chosen at the end due to the easier process of integration into the ROKAF since the Air Force already has supplies of American-designed and made weapons that can be installed on the F-15K more readily than on the Rafale.
On June 7, 2006, an F-15K crashed off the coast of South Korea, during a nighttime intercept training mission, killing both pilots on board. The ROKAF commissioned a full investigation, lasting several months. The Republic of Korea Air Force later issued a public statement saying that the accident was apparently caused by both crew members entering a state of g-force Loss-of-Consciousness that lasted 16 seconds and resulted in loss of control of the aircraft. Various discussions included 1. the blackbox (ECSMU) was not recovered, due to the great depth (1200 ft) of the crash site. 2. F-15Ks are NOT equipped with automatic GLC (Gravity Induced Loss of Consciousness) systems, and 3. the pilots were both seasoned Air Force veterans. Other factors considered in the investigation were the cloudy weather conditions, a night mission with the use of night vision goggles. Flight control parts were found and analyzed as part of the investigation which ruled out mechanical problems with the aircraft.
For the second phase of the F-X program, ROKAF has purchased 21 additional F-15K to compensate for the retirement of their F-5A/B in August 2007. The avionics configuration for the Phase 1 and 2 F-15K remains largely identical, and the only differences are that the weapon compatibility has been increased (AGM-158 JASSM, Bunker Busters, etc.) and that the engines have been switched from the F110-STW-129A to the F100-PW-229EEP, an improved version of the F100-PW-229. The new engines have commonality with the F100-PW-229 engines on the KF-16 and are compatible with each other, allowing ROKAF the option to interchange the engines among the KF-16 and Phase 2 F-15K. This allows the F-15K to be equipped with a KF-16's F100-PW-229 if necessary.
The third phase of the F-X project is a bid for an advanced multi-role strike fighter aircraft by 2014, intended to replace the aging F-4 Phantom II and F-5. The rumored purchase number is 40-60 aircraft (9 billion dollar project). The Korean Ministry of Defense has shown interest in the F-22 Raptor, but the United States Department of Defense is unlikely to permit the export of this advanced stealth fighter. The only candidates remaining are the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the Eurofighter, and the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle. The Sukhoi PAK FA had been shortlisted by DAPA previously, but Sukhoi failed to enter the bidding competition. Saab attended the RFP meeting, but doesn't appear to be bidding its Saab JAS 39 Gripen. DAPA has set the date of June 18, 2012 for the receipt of proposals with testing and evaluation taking place until September 2012 and with a winner due to be announced in October 2012. However both LockMart and EADS failed to submit Korean versions of their pricing and technology transfer details, leaving Boeing as the only vendor to meet the requirement for their proposal. The proposal deadline was extended to July 5th. The RoK defense establishment is now resisting calls to delay the decision until after the presidential election. Part of this resistance to delay stems from anticipated "rebates" of around 10% of the budget that will accrue to the pockets of the decision makers.
The E-X Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft program (also known as 'Peace Eye') was undertaken by the Republic of Korea Air Force to purchase AEW capability to strengthen ROKAF's ability to detect and distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft. The two candidates for this program were the Boeing 737 AEW&C and a consortium of Israel Aerospace Industries, Elta, L-3 Communications and Gulfstream Aerospace offering a Gulfstream G500/G550 aircraft equipped with Phalcon radar.
Originally, the ROKAF preferred the Gulfstream as it was cheaper than the Boeing counterpart. The Gulfstream was, in turn, less capable than the Boeing. However, the fact that almost no other nations, barring Japan, has advanced AWACS gave the Koreans the impression that the Gulfstream would be adequate enough to handle the given task of the E-X project.
The United States issued a warning to the IAI/Elta consortium that several of the AWACS technologies employed aboard the Gulfstream were developed by the United States, such as the IFF system, TADIL A/B (Link 11) and J (Link 16), satellite communications and AN/ARC-164 Have Quick II radios, and thus that Israel was obliged not to resell any of these technologies to another country without the permission of the United States.
In August 2006 DAPA announced that the Gulfstream was disqualified from the competition because of the failure to obtain US export licences for the datalinks and satellite communications, leaving the Boeing as the only proposal. In November 2006, the Boeing 737 AEW&C was announced to be the winner of the E-X AEW aircraft competition. In 2011, the first two of four Peace Eye aircraft were delivered. The final two aircraft are to be delivered in 2012.
The KF-X program is an early-stage project to develop an indigenous fighter aircraft. The current proposal is to develop an F-16 Block 50 class aircraft with basic stealth capabilities to replace the F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft. South Korea is reportedly seeking technological assistance from Saab, Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the production of the KF-X. On 15 July 2010, the Indonesia government agreed to fund 20% of KF-X project cost in return of around 50 planes built for Indonesian Air Force after project completion. In September 2010, Indonesia sent a team of legal and aviation experts to South Korea to discuss copyright issues of the aircraft. In December 2010 the program shifted from a F-16 class fighter to a stealth aircraft in order to respond to North Korean pressure.
|Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle||fighter-bomber||F-15K Slam Eagle||60||ROKAF received a total of 61 F-15K|
|KAI FA-50 Golden Eagle||attacker||FA-50||0 (20)||20 to be produced starting from 2013 to replace F-5E/F|
|Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon||fighter fighter-trainer fighter fighter-trainer||F-16C B-32 F-16D B-32 KF-16C B-52 KF-16D B-52||28 7 90 44||KF-16 built by KAI under license
ROKAF received a total of 30 F-16C-32, 10 F-16D-32, 94 KF-16C-52, and 46 KF-16D-52
|McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II||fighter-bomber||F-4E||68||to be replaced by 40 to 60 "F-X Phase 3" fighters between 2014–2018|
|Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II||fighter fighter-trainer fighter fighter-trainer||F-5E F-5F KF-5E KF-5F||170||ROKAF received a total of 126 F-5E, 20 F-5F, 48 KF-5E, and 20 KF-5F
F-5E/F to be replaced by FA-50
KF-5 built by Korean Air under license between 1982 and 1986
|Avro 748||VIP transport||HS.748||2|
|Boeing 737-300||VIP transport||737-3Z8||1|
|Boeing 747-400||VIP transport||747-4B5||1||Leased from Korean Air|
|CASA CN-235||tactical transport||CN-235-100 CN-235-220||12 8||built by CASA built by Indonesian Aerospace (IPTN) 6 transport and 2 VVIP airplanes in the Indonesian batch|
|Lockheed C-130 Hercules||tactical transport||C-130H C-130H-30||8 4|
|BAe 125 Hawker 800||reconnaissance signals intelligence||Hawker 800RA Hawker 800SIG||4 4|
|McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II||reconnaissance||RF-4C||16||ROKAF received a total of 27 RF-4C|
|KAI KA-1 Woongbi||forward air control & liaison||KA-1||20|
|Boeing 737 AEW&C||AEW&C||737-700IGW||3(1)||4 to be delivered until 2012 under Peace Eye program|
|BAE Hawk||trainer||T-59 Hawk 67||15||ROKAF received a total of 20 T-59|
|Ilyushin Il-103||trainer||T-103||22||ROKAF received a total of 23 Il-103 by Brown Bear Project|
|KAI KT-1 Woongbi||trainer||KT-1||84||ROKAF received a total of 85 KT-1|
|KAI T-50 Golden Eagle||advanced trainer aerobatic specialized LIFT/light attacker||T-50 T-50B TA-50||50 10 10 (22)|
|Bell UH-1H Iroquis||utility helicopter||UH-1H||13|
|Bell UH-1N Twin Huey||transport helicopter||212 UH-1N||2 3|
|Boeing CH-47 Chinook||rescue helicopter||HH-47D||6|
|Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk||VIP transport rescue helicopter||VH-60P HH-60P||10|
|Sikorsky S-92A Superhawk||VIP transport helicopter||S-92A||3|
|Kamov Ka-32 Helix-C||rescue helicopter||Ka-32T||7|
|Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar||VIP transport helicopter||AS 532||3||built by Indonesian Aerospace (IPTN)|
|Air Defense Artillery||Type||Versions||In service||Notes|
|Raytheon MIM-104 Patriot||surface-to-air missile||PAC-2 GEM/T||6 batteries||former German Bundeswehr equipment; 48 fire units and 192 missiles|
|Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk||surface-to-air missile||HAWK-XXI||24 batteries||600 MIM-23K missiles; Integrated with AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel|
|MBDA Mistral||MANPADS||To be replaced by KP-SAM|
|Piper J-3 Cub||1948||Trainer||L-4 Grasshopper||First aircraft operated by Republic of Korea Air Force
ROKAF received a total of 20 L-4
|North American T-6 Texan||1950||Trainer||T-6 Texan||ROKAF received a total of 10 T-6|
|North American P-51 Mustang||1950||Fighter||F-51D Mustang||ROKAF received a total of 203 F-51D|
|Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando||1955||Transport||ROKAF received a total of 28 C-46|
|Douglas C-47 Skytrain||1955||Transport||ROKAF received a total of 15 C-47|
|North American F-86 Sabre||1955||Fighter Reconnaissance||F-86F Sabre RF-86F Sabre||ROKAF received a total of 112 F-86F and 10 RF-86F
All F-86F retired by 1990
|Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star||1955||Trainer Reconnaissance||T-33A Shooting Star RT-33A Shooting Star||ROKAF received a total of 9 T-33A and 4 RT-33A
All T-33A retired by 1992
|North American T-28 Trojan||1960||Trainer||T-28A Trojan||ROKAF received a total of 33 T-28A
All T-28 retired by 1989
|North American F-86D Sabre||1961||Fighter||F-86D Sabre||ROKAF received a total of 50 F-86D
All F-86D retired by 1972
|Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter||1965||Fighter Fighter-trainer Reconnaissance||F-5A Freedom Fighter F-5B Freedom Fighter RF-5A Freedom Fighter||ROKAF received a total of 88 F-5A, 30 F-5B, and 8 RF-5A
36 F-5A and 8 RF-5A were donated to Republic of Vietnam
5 RF-5A were brought back from Republic of Vietnam after its fall
All F-5A/B retired by 2005
8 F-5A were donated to the Philippines
|Douglas C-54 Skymaster||1966||Transport||ROKAF received a total of 17 C-54
All C-54 retired by 1992
|McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II||1969||Fighter-bomber||F-4D Phantom II||ROKAF received a total of 92 F-4D
All F-4D retired by 2010
|Grumman S-2 Tracker||1970||ASW aircraft||S-2A Tracker||ROKAF transferred the aircraft to ROKN in 1976
ROKAF and ROKN received a total of 26 S-2A
|Cessna T-41 Mescalero||1972||Trainer||T-41B Mescalero||ROKAF received a total of 27 T-41B
All T-41B retired by 2006
15 T-41B were donated to Philippines
|Cessna T-37 Tweet||1973||Trainer||T-37C Tweet||ROKAF received a total of 55 (30 ex-Brazil) T-37C
All T-37C retired by 2004
|Fairchild C-123 Provider||1973||Transport||C-123K Provider||ROKAF received a total of 22 C-123
All C-123K retired by 1994
|Cessna O-2 Skymaster||1974||FAC aircraft||O-2A Skymater||All O-2A retired by 2006|
|Cessna A-37 Dragonfly||1976||Light attacker||A-37B Dragonfly||ROKAF received a total of 20 A-37B
All A-37B retired by 2007
8 A-37B were donated to Peru
|Northrop T-38 Talon||1999||Trainer||T-38A Talon||ROKAF leased a total of 30 T-38A from the United States
All T-38A were returned to the United States by 2009
Officer ranks can be learned fairly easily if one sees the pattern. "So" equals small; "Jung" equals medium; "Dae" equals large. "Jun" equals the prefix sub-.. Each of these is coupled with "wi" equals company grade, "ryeong" equals field grade, and "jang" equals general. This system is due to the hanja or Sino-Korean origin of the names.
|ROK Air Force rank||ROK Air Force insignia|
|ROK Air Force rank||ROK Air Force insignia|
|ROK Air Force rank||ROK Air Force insignia|
(Chief Master Sergeant)
(Senior Master Sergeant)
|ROK Air Force rank||ROK Air Force insignia|
(Airman First Class)
¹: No one held the rank of Won-su in the history of the ROK Armed Forces yet.
²: The Jun-wi (Warrant Officer)'s insignia is in brass color while the ones of Second Lieutenant and higher are in silver color.
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