The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainer successfully completed its maiden flight on 20 August in South Korea.

The 39min flight started with a take-off using military power (full thrust without afterburner) and climb to 7,000ft (2,140m) for preliminary handling checks. During further flights, with the landing gear locked down, a maximum altitude of 15,000ft, indicated airspeed of 245kt (455km/h) and 13° angle of attack were reached. The aircraft is powered by a single General Electric F404-GE-102 turbofan.

Airworthiness testing will be completed over several more flights, before expansion of the flight envelope. Maximum design speed is M1.4, and the aircraft is stressed to manoeuvre between -3 and +8g.

KAI is developing the T-50 with principal subcontractor Lockheed Martin for service-entry with the South Korean air force, which intends to acquire 94 aircraft.

Initial production authorisation is planned for the third quarter of 2003. Lockheed Martin is technical adviser, responsible for the avionics, flight control system and wings.

An international marketing programme is under way to secure export orders for the trainer and the A-50 light attack variant.

Fatigue testing of a T-50 airframe has started, designed to validate the 8,334h design service life of the T-50 and the digital structural model used in the design of the airframe.

Source: Flight International