T-50 Golden Eagle
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: A-50 Golden Eagle, FA-50 Golden Eagle, FA-50PH and KTX II
Origin: South Korea
KAI Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin
Parent System: T-50 Golden Eagle
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2006
Total Production: 148
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Description: The T-50 Golden Eagle is a supersonic, advanced jet trainer and lead-in fighter trainer which provides training for pilots on 4th and 5th generation aircraft. The T-50 will also provide a secondary light ground attack capability, under a configuration called A-50. The aircraft is being developed jointly between Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed-Martin. This program was born in the 1990s as the KTX II. The A-50 Golden Eagle will feature a tactical radar to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions employing precision guided bombs and missiles. The Air Force of South Korea has ordered an initial batch of 100 T-50 aircraft to replace current outdated F-4s and F-5s. KAI and Lockheed project sales of about 600-800 T-50s worldwide.
In December 2003, the Republic of Korea Defense Procurement Agency awarded KAI a contract for production of 25 T-50 supersonic trainers and associated equipment and line production start up costs. These aircraft will be delivered beginning in late 2005 with aircraft production carried out at KAI facilities in Sacheon, South Korea. The Republic of Korea Air Force plans to purchase 50 T-50 trainer aircraft and 50 A-50 light attack aircraft. The entry into service of the T-50 with the Korean Air Force is expected in 2006. As of June 2005, Lockheed-Martin, KAI and Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) agreed to study the T-50 suitability for the Hellenic Air Force.
In late March 2005, Lockheed-Martin announced that the T-50 supersonic aircraft completed the aerial gunfire testing January 2005 using its internally mounted, three-barrel, Gatling-type 20mm cannon. At that time, the T-50 program was completed at 50 percent since flight testing started in August 2002. On 30 August 2005, the first production Golden Eagle was rolled out at KAI's facilities in Sacheon, South Korea. As of September 2005, South Korea had ordered 50 T-50 trainers and 44 A-50 light attack aircraft while a further option for up to 200 A-50s in the 2007 to 2012 timeframe was kept for replacing South Korea's aging F-5 fleet.
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