SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) — President Moon Jae-in said Friday that South Korea is set to begin production of the country’s next-generation indigenous fighter jet prototype with a goal of deploying up to 120 units for use in real combat by 2032.

Moon announced the plan at an unveiling event of the KF-21 Boramae fighter prototype held at the Korea Aerospace Industries headquarters in the southern city of Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.

South Korea began the 8.8 trillion-won (US$7.9 billion) program to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 jets in late 2015.

“We have opened a new era of self defense and also established a historic milestone in the progression of the aviation industry,” Moon said in a speech.

Moon explained that the combat jet will go into full-fledged production as soon as it completes tests on the ground and in the air.

“We plan to deploy 40 jets by 2028 and a total of 120 by 2032,” the president added.