Two F-15K fighter jets, the Korean Air Forces next generation fighter, will arrive in Korea for the first time earlier next month.
The jets will be refueled in the air on their long-distance flight to Korea.
According to the Air Force Wednesday, F-15Ks three and four, manufactured at the Boeing factory in St. Louis, are scheduled to take off from the local factory on October 2 and stop at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Their landing at Seoul Airport in Gyeonggi Province is scheduled for October 7.
F-15Ks one and two are undergoing final tests at the local factory.
The total flying distance of the F-15Ks will be around 15,961 kilometers. With a maximum flying range of 4,445 kilometers, the F-15K has the longest flying distance of all fighters in service today, but it cannot fly the distance to the Korean Peninsula over the Pacific Ocean without refueling.
Therefore, the fighters will be refueled in the air by a U.S. Air Force refueling tanker between St. Louis and Hawaii, and between Hawaii and Guam. The fighters will stay at Hickam and Anderson Air Force Base for one day, collectively. The two F-15Ks will leave Anderson Air Force Base in the morning of October 7 and then will fly 2,500 kilometers to Seoul Airport without refueling in the air.
An Air Force official said that when the fighters enter the airspace of Jeju Island, two KF-16 fighter jets will be there to welcome them and escort them for a safe flight and landing at Seoul Airport.
The F-15K can fly at double the speed of sound. However, since this causes two to three times more consumption of fuel than normal speed, it will fly at its cruising speed of 900 to 1,000 kilometers per hour on this flight.
The Air Force explained that the control stick in the front seat will be in charge of Boeings test pilots who were from the U.S. Air Force, while the rear seat of each fighter will be taken by a Korean Air force pilot and a Boeing technician, respectively.
It is also known that during long-distance flying, the F-15K will carry out several performance tests under the strict control of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Pacific Headquarters.
The debut of the F-15K is scheduled for the 2005 Seoul Air Show at Seoul Airport from October 18 to 23. Excluding the two jets that will arrive next month, the remaining 38 F-15K fighter jests will be delivered one after the other by the end of 2008.