KAI wins W1.1tn contract for FA-50 fighters

Singapore
Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
Subscribe today »

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has received a won (W) 1.1 trillion ($1 billion) order for FA-50 fighter aircraft.

KAI declined to state the number of aircraft covered under the contract with Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration. "It's a military secret," said a KAI spokesman in an email to Flightglobal.

This is KAI's second mass production contract for the type, which is based on the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer aircraft. The first contract, placed in January 2012, was worth $600 million and covered 20 aircraft, valuing each example at roughly $30 million.

The South Korean air force will receive eight FA-50s from the 2012 order this year, and the remaining 12 in 2014. The undisclosed number covered by the most recent contract will ensure production until 2016. Seoul could eventually acquire a total of 60 to 100 FA-50s to replace more than 150 Northrop F-5s.

The spokesman adds that KAI is producing "one to two" FA-50s per month at its Sacheon factory.

KAI is also in final negotiations with Manila for 12 FA-50s, which could become the Philippine air force's first fighters since it retired its F-5s in 2004.

The FA-50 is the most advanced variant of the T-50 family. Seoul's FA-50s will have the Link 16 tactical data link, as well as an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 pulse doppler radar.

The FA-50 also has a radar warning receiver and a night vision imaging system. It is capable of carrying 4,500kg (9,920lb) of weapons, including the Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition and Textron CBU-97 Sensor Fused Weapon. The FA-50 also has a 20mm cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles.

The other two variants are the T-50B performance aircraft, and the TA-50, a lightly armed version of the T-50 with a 20mm cannon and the ability to carry air-to-air missiles.

All T-50 variants are powered by General Electric F404 engines.