The planned single-seat version of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 light attack jet will have a 30% range improvement over the current two-seater.

Details about the single-seater’s additional range were revealed by South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, which is providing partial funding for development work on the variant, according to a report by the official Yonhap news agency.


Source: Korea Aerospace Industries

The single-seat variant of the FA-50 will retain the existing canopy to keep down costs

KAI has previously given the FA-50’s official range as 1,000nm (1,850km).

According to Yonhap, the ministry will provide W49.4 million ($35.7 million) for FA-50 enhancements. These funds are in addition to those provided by other parties: in March, KAI revealed that it had earmarked W35.6 billion for development of the single-seater.

The ministry also reveals that the aircraft will receive an automatic ground collision avoidance system.

Yonhap quotes a ministry official as saying that the enhancements should help the type break into the US market in 2025. In 2018, Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk beat the T-50 in the US Air Force’s T-X competition to replace the Northrop T-38.

Nonetheless, KAI feels that the type is well suited to other US training requirements. It is partnering with Lockheed Martin for opportunities in the USA and other countries, notably for the US Navy’s T-45 Goshawk replacement effort.

The single-seat FA-50 will see a fuel tank replace the rear seat. The elimination of associated avionics and the ejection seat will help reduce costs, while potentially also increasing weapons payload.

However, the new variant will retain the existing canopy and outer mould line.