Korea takes first production T-50s

Singapore
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The South Korean air force (ROKAF) formally accepted the first two production Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainers this week in a hand-over ceremony in at the manufacturer's Sacheon facilities.

kai t-50 tnThe ROKAF became the first customer for the T-50, manufactured by KAI with development assistance from Lockheed Martin, with an order for 25 T-50s in December 2003. The T-50 made its public début at the Seoul air show in October has been undergoing flight tests during the final quarter of 2005.

The South Korean defence procurement agency now has orders for 50 T-50 trainers and 44 A-50 light attack aircraft (split between lead-in fighter trainers and close-air support configurations) with options for up to 200 fighter variants from 2007-2012 to replace the country's Northrop F-5 Tiger fleet.

KAI is now working with suppliers to work out a baseline model price for the export model, which Lockheed Martin will help market. Greece, Israel, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are considered the best short-term prospects.

Read Flight International's full review of the T-50 from the Seoul air show edition.