Military Wiki
Republic of Korea Air Force
대한민국 공군
Daehanminguk Gong-gun
Logo of the South Korean Air Force
Mark of the Republic of Korea Air Force
Active October 1, 1949 – present
Country Flag of South Korea South Korea
Type Air force
Size 65,000 (2012)[1]
Part of Ministry of National Defense
Garrison/HQ Gyeryong, South Korea
March "Air Force Anthem" (Korean: 공군가; "Gonggunga")
Mascot(s) Haneuli
Aircraft 760 (2010)
Engagements Korean War
Vietnam War
Persian Gulf War
Global War on Terrorism
Air Force Chief of Staff General Sung Il-hwan (since April 2012)
Roundel Roundel of the Republic of Korea Air Force
Low-visibility Roundel Roundel of the Republic of Korea Air Force-LOW VISIBILITY

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF; Korean language: 대한민국 공군

大韓民國 空軍; Revised Romanization: Daehanminguk Gong-gun), also known as the ROK Air Force, is the aerial warfare service branch of South Korea, operating under the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.

The ROKAF has about 500 combat aircraft of American design, in addition to a few Russian, European, and indigenously-designed aircraft.


Early years[]

Pufal-ho ROKAF

The buhwal is South Korea's first indigenous aircraft (designed 1953)[2]

Shortly after the end of World War II, the South 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 South Korean Ministry of National Defence. On September 13, 1949, the United States contributed 10 L-4 Grasshopper observation aircraft to the South Korean air unit. An Army Air Academy was founded on January, 1949, and the ROKAF was officially founded on October, 1949.

Korean War[]


F-51D were among the first fighter aircraft deployed by the ROKAF.

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 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, as part of Bout One Project. 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 North American T-28 Trojan trainers, North American F-86D Sabre night- and all-weather interceptors, Northrop F-5 fighters and McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom 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 Curtiss C-46 Commande transport aircraft used to support Republic of Korea Army and Republic of Korea Marine Corps units serving in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.[3]


ROKAF Roundel 1950s-2000s

The former ROKAF roundel, similar to the American one. It was used until 2000.

F-4D ROKAF w Sidewinders 1979

A South Korean F-4D armed with AIM-9 missiles at Daegu Air Base in January 1979.

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 Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters in August 1974 and F-4E fighter bombers. Support aircraft, such as Fairchild C-123 Providers and Grumman S-2 Trackers were also purchased at the time. Great emphasis was placed in the flight training program; new trainer aircraft (Cessna T-41 Mescalero and Cessna 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 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 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters were purchased in 1989.


South Korea committed its support for coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War, forming the "Bima Unit" to fight in the war. 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.


The last of the old South Korean 60 F-5A/B fighters were all retired in August 2007, and they were replaced with the F-15K and F/A-50. On October 20, 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.[4]


The South Korean 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.[citation needed]

Order of battle[]

F-16 Kunsan AB Elephant Walk

Taxi traffic F-16 Fighting Falcons demonstrate an 'Elephant Walk' as they taxi down the flightline at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea in 2012.

F-15K re-fuel from a KC-135

A South Korean F-15K Eagle comes in for fuel from an American KC-135.


A T-50B demonstrates at the 2012 Farnborough International Air Show

Korean AF C-130H (3097678513)

A Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft

05-004 Ka-32T (HH-32) RoK (3097668829)

The air force operates the Kamov Ka-32A4s helicopter with local designation HH-32 for CSAR

HL1087 An-2 Air Force Academy Seongmu, Korea (3098531088)

An Antonov An-2 of the Air Force Academy.

  • Republic of Korea Air Force Headquarters
    • Air Force Operations Command
      • 5th Tactical Airlift Wing, based at Gimhae
        • 251st Tactical Air Support Squadron flying C-130H and C-130H-30
        • 256th Tactical Air Support Squadron flying CN235-100M
        • 258th Tactical Support Squadron flying CN235-100M and CN235-220M
        • 259th Tactical Air Support Squadron flying UH-60P
      • 15th Composite Wing, based at Seongnam
        • 237th Tactical Control Squadron flying 20 KA-1
        • 255th Special Operations Squadron flying C-130H
        • 257th Tactical Air Transport Squadron flying C-130H
      • 35th Combined Group
        • 296th Special Transport Squadron flying the HS-748, CN235-220M, Boeing 737-300, Sikorsky VH-60P and a Sikorsky S-92
      • 6th Combat Control Team/Combat Search And Rescue Group
    • Air Force Northern Combat Command
      • 8th Fighter Wing, based at Wonju
        • 103rd Fighter Squadron flying F-5E/F-5F/KF-5F
        • 207th Fighter Squadron flying KF-5E and KF-5F
        • 288th Electronic Fighter Squadron flying Harpy
        • 239th Special Squadron, aka. Black Eagles Aerobatic Team
      • 10th Fighter Wing, based at Suwon Air Base
        • 101st Fighter Squadron flying KF-5E/KF-5F/F-5F
        • 201st Fighter Squadron flying KF-5E/KF-5F/F-5F
      • 39th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
        • 131st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flying 17 RF-4C Phantom
      • 17th Fighter Wing, based at Cheongju
        • 152nd Fighter Squadron flying F-4E
        • 153rd Fighter Squadron flying F-4E
        • 156th Fighter Squadron flying F-4E
      • 29th Tactical Development & Training Group
        • 191st Tactical Development & Training Squadron flying F-16C/D and KF-16C/D
        • 192nd Tactical Development & Training Squadron flying F-5E/F and KF-5E/F
      • 6th Search & Rescue Group
        • 233rd Combat Search & Rescue Squadron flying Bell 412, Eurocopter AS532L/L2 Cougar and Sikorsky HH-60P helicopters
        • 235th Combat Search & Rescue Squadron flying Kamov HH-32 (KA-32T) and Boeing Vertol HH-47D Chinook helicopters
      • 18th Fighter Wing, based at Gangneung
      • 19th Fighter Wing, based at Jungwon Air Base
        • 161st Fighter Squadron flying F-16C/D (Block32)
        • 162nd Fighter Squadron flying F-16C/D (Block32)
        • 155th Fighter Squadron flying KF-16C/D (Block52)
        • 159th Fighter Squadron flying KF-16C/D (Block52)
      • 20th Fighter Wing, based at Seosan Air Base
        • 120th Fighter Squadron flying KF-16C/D (Block52)
        • 121st Fighter Squadron flying KF-16C/D (Block52)
        • 123rd Fighter Squadron flying KF-16C/D (Block52)
        • 157th Fighter Squadron flying KF-16C/D (Block52)
    • Air Force Southern Combat Command
      • 1st Fighter Wing, based at Gwangju
      • 11th Fighter Wing, based at Daegu
        • 102nd Fighter Squadron flying F-15K
        • 122nd Fighter Squadron flying F-15K
        • 110th Fighter Squadron flying F-15K
      • 16th Fighter Wing, based at Yecheon
        • 202nd Fighter Squadron flying F-5E/F-5F/KF-5F
        • 216th Flying Training Squadron flying 16 T-59 (BAe Hawk Mk.67)
      • 38th Fighter Group, based at Gunsan
        • 111th Fighter Squadron flying KF-16
    • Air Defence Artillery Command
      • 1st Air Defence Artillery Brigade
      • 2nd Air Defence Artillery Brigade
      • 3rd Air Defence Artillery Brigade
    • Air Defense & Control Command, based at Osan
      • 1st Master Control and Report Center Group, based at Osan
      • 2nd Master Control and Report Center Group, based at Daegu
    • Air Force Logistics Command
      • Maintenance Depots
      • Supply Depots
      • Transportation Groups
    • Air Force Education & Training Command
      • Basic Military Training Wing
      • 3rd Flying Training Wing
      • Air Force Aviation Science High School
      • Technical Schools
    • Aerospace Projects Group
    • Aerial Combat Development Group
    • Air Force Academy

Current projects[]

F-15K arrives at Nellis AFB

An F-15K lands at Nellis AFB in the United States in 2008.

F-X fighter program[]

F-X Phase 1

The first phase of the air forces fighter procurement programs was the addition to the ROKAF of the F-15K Slam Eagle to fulfill the the requirements of the "F-X" next generation fighter program in 2002.

F-X Phase 2

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.

F-X Phase 3

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 selection process has not yet been completed.

E-X Early warning aircraft program[]

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.[citation needed]

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.[5] 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 were delivered in 2012.

KF-X future fighter program[]

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. EADS has said that if South Korea selects its Eurofighter Typhoon for the F-X program, they will invest $2 billion into the KF-X program.[6]

Mid-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (MUAV)[]

South Korea will resume a once-aborted program to develop mid-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (MUAV) to bolster its monitoring capabilities of North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. The state-funded Agency for Defense Development launched the indigenous drone development project in 2006 and made a prototype in May 2010. The medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV is designed to fly at an altitude of up to 10 kilometers and its radar can scan as far as 100 km. Korea hopes to complete development of the combat drones by 2018.[7] The overall performance of the drones under development in Korea is believed to be similar to the MQ-9 Reaper.

HALE (High Altitude, Long Endurance) UAV[]

Seoul has shown interest in the high-altitude, long-endurance Global Hawk drones to conduct intelligence missions on North Korea, as it is preparing to take over wartime operational control from Washington at the end of 2015. But the price is nearly a three-fold jump from the initial price estimated by the defense ministry, and much higher than $875 million offered by the U.S. government in July 2011.[8] The U.S. Congress has approved the sale to South Korea 4 Global Hawk UAV, Seoul but may have to reconsider the deal because the cost is too high.[9]

Aerial tanker[]

The Air Force is to acquire four aerial refueling tankers between 2017-2019. Potential candidates include the Airbus MRTTA330 and the Boeing KC-46. The tankers will be used to refuel combat jet fighters. Previous attempts to buy tankers had been delayed due to budget constraints.[10] On 12 August 2013, DAPA approved the plan for tanker acquisition. Bidding will begin in February 2014, with the winner to be announced in October 2014 after evaluations of price and performance. Air-to-air refueling will increase the endurance of the KF-16 by 70 minutes, and the F-15K by 90 minutes. DAPA declined to reveal the budget for the plan and estimated to be over $1.3 billion.[11] A plan to buy four aircraft will be approved in November 2013, with evaluations to proceed from March to May 2014. The contract is valued at $940 million.[12]

Main equipment[]


Aircraft Role Versions In service[13] Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle fighter-bomber F-15K Slam Eagle 60[14] ROKAF received a total of 61 F-15K
KAI FA-50 Golden Eagle fighter-trainer(tandem) FA-50(Batch-I)
1 (20)
First batch comprising eight FA-50s set for delivery this year, followed by the second with the remaining 12 in 2014[15]
ROKAF will introduce a total of 60 FA-50s to replace more than 150 Northrop F-5s. Second contract will ensure production until 2017.[16]
Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter
F-16C Block-32
F-16D Block-32
KF-16C Block-52
KF-16D Block-52
ROKAF received a total of 180 F-16s.(30 F-16C-32, 10 F-16D-32, 94 KF-16C-52, and 46 KF-16D-52)
KF-16 built by KAI under license
McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter-bomber F-4E 68 ROKAF received(1968~1989) a total of 220 F-4s(92 F-4D, 103 F-4E and 27 RF-4C)[17]
Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II fighter
170 ROKAF received a total of 214 F-5s.(126 F-5E, 20 F-5F, 48 KF-5E, and 20 KF-5F)
KF-5 built by Korean Air under license between 1982 and 1986
F-5E/F to be replaced by FA-50
Transport Aircraft
Boeing 737-300 VIP transport 737-3Z8 1 Used as Presidential Transport
Boeing 747-400 VIP transport 747-4B5 1 Used as Presidential Transport (leased from Korean Air)
Avro 748 VIP transport HS.748 2
CASA CN-235 VIP transport VCN-235 2
CASA CN-235 tactical transport CN-235-100
built by CASA
built by IPTN
Lockheed C-130 Hercules tactical transport C-130H
Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport C-130J-30 (4) 4 Aircraft will be delivered in 2014.[18]
Undesignated Aircraft
Antonov An-2 Training L-2 20 The L-2 variant were purchased from Poland and Eastern Europe as general utility aircraft and trainers.[19]
Reconnaissance Aircraft
BAe 125 Hawker 800 (IMINT)
Dassault Falcon 2000 ISR (2) 2 ELINT Falcon 2000s on order.[20]
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 equipped with a 12.7 mm gun pod(FN Herstal HMP-250), chaffes, flares, missiles, rockets or unguided bombs.[21]
Airborne early warning and control
Boeing 737 AEW&C AEW&C 737-700IGW 4[22] Peace Eye
Trainer Aircraft
Ilyushin Il-103 primary trainer T-103 22 23 Il-103 were given by Russia in 2004 as a partial payment of debts incurred during the Soviet era.
KAI KT-1 Woongbi basic trainer KT-1 84 ROKAF received a total of 85 KT-1
KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainers
aerobatic specialized
Lead-In Fighter Trainer
ROKAF received total of 50 T-50s.
Ten delivered.[23]
Equipped with the Israeli EL/M-2032 radar, the TA-50 is combat-capable.[24]
Bell 412 trainer(being phased out) Bell-412SP 4 Used as Presidential Transport (1982~1988)
Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma Combat Search and Rescue AS-332 L2 3 Used as Presidential Transport (1988~1999), three originally delivered.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk VIP transport helicopter VH-60P 5 Used as Presidential Transport (1999~2007)
Sikorsky S-92 VIP transport helicopter VH-92 3 Used as Presidential Transport from 2007.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Combat Search and Rescue HH-60P 10 Around 150 were license-produced by Korean Air's aerospace division for all three services which included 10 HH-60Ps for the air force.[25]
Kamov Ka-32 Helix-C Combat Search and Rescue HH-32A 7
Boeing CH-47 Chinook Combat Search and Rescue HH-47D 6

Air Defense[]

  • The ROKAF Air Defence Artillery Command transferred from the Republic of Korea Army's air defense artillery and was established as a basic branch on 1 July 1991[26] Following the establishment of the ROKAF Air Defence Artillery Command as a separate service in 1991, the army began to develop further its own air defense artillery assets (short range SAM, SPAAG and man-portable air-defense systems) in support of ground operations.
Air Defense Weapon Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Medium & Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile
Raytheon MIM-104 Patriot United States surface-to-air missile PAC-2 GEM/T 6 batteries[27] former German Bundeswehr equipment; 48 fire units and 192 missiles
Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk United States surface-to-air missile HAWK-XXI 24 batteries 600 MIM-23K missiles; Integrated with AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel[28] MIM-23 Hawk to be replaced by KM-SAM
KM-SAM Flag of South Korea South Korea surface-to-air missile The KM-SAM' so-called M-SAM Cheolmae-2 with the help of Russia by the Almaz-Antey Design Bureau, in association with an industry team from Korea lead by Samsung Thales. This team included missile builder LIG Nex1 and platform manufacturer Doosan DST.[29]
Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) Flag of South Korea South Korea missile defense system South Korea, which decided not to join the U.S.-led global missile defense(MD) system, has gradually been building an independent, low-tier missile shield called the Korea Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD) since 2006.[30]
Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile
Doosan K-SAM Chunma Flag of South Korea South Korea Short-Range Self-Propelled SAM 100+[31] Samsung Thales to jointly develop a South Korean-augmented French Crotale NG system for the K-SAM Pegasus, as well as a new indigenous missile by LIG Nex1. The electronics and radars were developed by Samsung Electronics. Doosan DST integrated this modified with a ROKA K-200 IFV hull/chassis AKA the K-21.[32]
Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG)
Doosan K263A1 Chungung Flag of South Korea South Korea Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun 200 K263A1 Chungung, a self-propelled 20mm Vulcan system. It combines an electro-optically guided 20mm gun system with a surveillance radar system on a K200 chassis.
Doosan K30 Biho Flag of South Korea South Korea Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun 176 A K30 Biho system consists of twin 30mm guns, adapts the chassis of the K200 infantry fighting vehicle.
The K30 Biho's designs are strikingly similar to the German Flakpanzer Gepard
Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS)
LIG Nex1 KP-SAM Shingung Flag of South Korea South Korea MANPADS mass production stage(since 2005)[33] The New Bow (Shingung, Shin-Gung or internationally as the Chiron) is a shoulder-launched missile targeting helicopters, or low-flying fighter and transport aircraft. It has a 7 km maximum target range and flies at a maximum altitude of 3.5 km and maximum speed of Mach 2.1[34]
Mistral Flag of France France MANPADS 400+ launchers
2,760 missiles[35]
2,760 mistrals were purchased from France between 1991 and 1997
9K38 Igla Flag of Russia Russia MANPADS SA-18 50 launchers
750 missiles[36]
In late 2003, the delivery of the Igla SAMs from Russia in payment for Russian debts to Korea appear to have solved the problem momentarily.

Former equipment[]


Aircraft Introduction Type Versions Notes
Fixed-wing Aircraft
Piper L-4 Grasshopper 1948 Trainer 1st aircraft operated by ROKAF
Received 20 L-4
North American T-6 Texan 1950 Trainer T-6 Texan Received 10 T-6
North American P-51 Mustang 1950 Fighter F-51D Mustang Received 203 F-51D
Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando 1955 Transport Received 28 C-46
Douglas C-47 Skytrain 1955 Transport Received 15 C-47
North American F-86 Sabre 1955 Fighter
F-86F Sabre
RF-86F Sabre
Received 112 F-86F and 10 RF-86F
Retired by 1990
Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star 1955 Trainer
T-33A Shooting Star
RT-33A Shooting Star
Received 9 T-33A and 4 RT-33A
Retired by 1992
North American T-28 Trojan 1960 Trainer T-28A Trojan Received 33 T-28A
Retired by 1989
North American F-86D Sabre 1961 Fighter F-86D Sabre Received 50 F-86D
Retired by 1972
Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter 1965 Fighter
F-5A Freedom Fighter
F-5B Freedom Fighter
RF-5A Freedom Fighter
Received 88 F-5A, 30 F-5B, and 8 RF-5A
36 F-5A and 8 RF-5A donated to Republic of Vietnam
5 RF-5A returned from Vietnam after fall
Retired by 2005
8 F-5A donated to the Philippines
Douglas C-54 Skymaster 1966 Transport Received 17 C-54
Retired by 1992
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II 1969 Fighter-bomber F-4D Phantom II Received 92 F-4D
Retired by 2010
Grumman S-2 Tracker 1970 ASW aircraft S-2A Tracker Transferred to ROKN in 1976
ROKAF/ROKN received 26 S-2A
Cessna T-41 Mescalero 1972 Trainer T-41B Mescalero Received 27 T-41B
Retired by 2006
15 donated to Philippines
Cessna T-37 Tweet 1973 Trainer T-37C Tweet Received 55 (30 ex-Brazil) T-37C
Retired by 2004
Fairchild C-123 Provider 1973 Transport C-123K Provider Received 22 C-123
Retired by 1994
Cessna O-2 Skymaster 1974 FAC aircraft O-2A Skymater Retired by 2006
Cessna A-37 Dragonfly 1976 Light attack A-37B Dragonfly Received 20 A-37B
Retired by 2007
8 A-37B were donated to Peru
Northrop T-38 Talon 1999 Trainer T-38A Talon Leased 30 T-38A from US
Returned to the US by 2009
BAE Hawk 1992 Trainer T-59 (Hawk 67) Received 20 BAE Hawk
Retired by 2013
Rotary-wing Aircraft
Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw 1958 Search and Rescue H-19D Retired by 1976[37]
Bell UH-1 Iroquois 1968
1971, 1977
Search and Rescue
Presidential Transport
UH-1B retired by 1994
UH-1N retired by 2005

Military ranks[]

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.

Commissioned officers[]

ROK Air Force rank ROK Air Force insignia



(Lieutenant General)


(Major General)


(Brigadier General)




(Lieutenant Colonel)






(First Lieutenant)


(Second Lieutenant)

Warrant officers[]

ROK Air Force rank ROK Air Force insignia

(Warrant Officer)


Non-commissioned officers[]

ROK Air Force rank ROK Air Force insignia

(Chief Master Sergeant)


(Senior Master Sergeant)


(Master Sergeant)


(Technical Sergeant)


ROK Air Force rank ROK Air Force insignia

(Staff Sergeant)


(Senior Airman)


(Airman First Class)




(Airman Basic)

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.

See also[]


  1. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2010-12-30). "국방백서 2010". 
  2. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "경남도, 국산비행기 1호 '부활호' 복원". Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  3. "Vietnam Studies: Allied Participation in Vietnam, Chapter VI: The Republic of Korea." page 131.
  4. Korea Urged to Secure Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems
  5. Brendan Sobie Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (3 August 2006). "South Korea selects Boeing 737-based AEW&C system over Gulfstream G550 platform". Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  6. EADS “Invests 2 Trillion KRW In the KF-X to Develop the Korean Indigenous Fighter Jet Together” -, May 24, 2013
  7. Korea to begin development of mid-altitude UAV” -, June 14, 2013
  8. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (3 May 2013). "U.S. Congress approves sale of four spy drones to S. Korea". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  9. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Korea rejected the U.S. Global Hawk UAV ?". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  10. Air Force to acquire 4 aerial refueling tankers by 2019 -, 6 August 2013
  11. S. Korea To Extend Range of Jets With Aerial Tankers -, 12 August 2013
  12. South Korea To Open Bid for Aerial Tankers -, 18 October 2013
  13. South Korean military aviation OrBat
  15. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "KAI to supply additional FA-50 fighters to South Korean Air Force". Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  16. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 
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External links[]

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The original article can be found at Republic of Korea Air Force and the edit history here.