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South Korea’s homegrown KF-21 Boramae fighter aircraft conducted its maiden flight Tuesday, only 6½ years after the start of the development program, in a milestone for the country’s defense industry amid efforts to make the nation more self-reliant.

The aircraft, the first of six flyable prototypes to have been built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), took to the skies from an air force base near KAI’s headquarters in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, and flew for about 30 minutes.

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