Royal NLR and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands have delivered the final software package for the Embedded Combat Training System to LIG Nex1 for integration in the new Korean fighter aircraft KF-21 Boramae. The delivery completes the Embedded Training application, which enables the fighter pilots to perform cost efficient and realistic air combat training.

After three and a half years of development Royal NLR – Netherlands Aerospace Centre and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands have delivered the final Embedded Combat Training System (E-CATS) to South Korean LIG Nex1. This aerospace manufacturer is responsible for the development of the Embedded Training (ET) unit for the new Korean fighter KF-X. This twin-engine jet, which is developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), was unveiled at the KAI headquarters and officially named KF-21 Boramae (‘Hawk’) last April.

Following the first delivery of the ET application last year, this final software package is a major extension to the ET functionality. It comprises a simulation module that simulates Tactical Data Link (TDL) messages. These messages are used to exchange Command & Control information between team members (pilots) in the formation and the Control & Reporting Centres (CRC). The messages have an effect on the tactical behaviour and operation of platforms and weapon systems which is key for realistic air combat training.

The Embedded Combat Aircraft Training System (E-CATS) is an innovative product, developed by Royal NLR and Airbus DS NL, which provides live mission training for fighter pilots against simulated adversaries (constructive threats). The constructive threats are realistically displayed on the aircraft sensors with realistic performance characteristics. Pilots are able to train individually (single ship ET) or as a formation in the multi-ship configuration.

“We are very pleased with this successful delivery”, states Arjan Lemmers of NLR as project leader. “But we are not done yet. Royal NLR and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands will continue to support our customer integrating the embedded training application in the following years”. Harry van Hulten, Business Development Manager Defence at Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands, fully agrees: “This important milestone enables the KF-21 pilots to join the 4.5th Generation Air Forces by training full up Live-Constructive scenarios.”

The first operational aircraft are expected in 2026. The two Dutch parties are actively seeking to support the end-customer the ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force) with introduction and support to the use and best training practices with the application and the development of operational tactical scenarios.

Roll out of the KF-21 Boramae (credits: LIG Nex1).