Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has unveiled an upgraded, armed version of the KT-1 basic trainer for use in forward air-control and counter-insurgency roles. The KO-1 is being developed jointly by KAI and government research and technology agency ADD to meet a South Korean air force requirement for 20-40 aircraft, say KAI officials.

The aircraft is in the "final stage of development", says KAI, and its enhanced avionics have been installed on two KO-1 prototypes. Deliveries are due to start by 2004.

Changes from the KT-1 include the installation of a night-vision-compatible panel, head-up and multifunction displays, weapons control panel, GPS-satellite/inertial navigation system, mission computer, external fuel tanks and hands-on-throttle-and-stick controls. The South Korean air force has selected Elbit, Flight Vision and Thales avionics.

For light attack, KAI says a range of guns, bombs, rockets and missiles can be integrated to meet customer requirements. KAI adds the aircraft will also be offered for export, with the upgraded avionics but no weapons system, as a more advanced trainer than the basic KT-1. "We are considering other export versions," says KAI. "This [initial version] is just for the South Korean air force. We want to be flexible to meet customer needs."

Source: Flight International