The disinfection industry would greatly benefit from efficient, robust, high-power deep-ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV–C LEDs). However, the performance of UV–C AlGaN LEDs is limited by poor light-extraction efficiency (LEE) and the presence of a large density of threading dislocations. We demonstrate high power AlGaN LEDs grown on SiC with high LEE and low threading dislocation density. We employ a crack-free AlN buffer layer with low threading dislocation density and a technique to fabricate thin-film UV LEDs by removing the SiC substrate, with a highly selective SF6 etch. The LEDs (278 nm) have a turn-on voltage of 4.3 V and a CW power of 8 mW (82 mW/mm2) and external quantum efficiency (EQE) of 1.8% at 95 mA. KOH submicron roughening of the AlN surface (nitrogen-polar) and improved p-contact reflectivity are found to be effective in improving the LEE of UV light. We estimate the improved LEE by semiempirical calculations to be 33% (without encapsulation). This work establishes UV LEDs grown on SiC substrates as a viable architecture to large-area, high-brightness, and high-power UV LEDs.