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Brazil asked to assess fighter variant of KAI’s T-50 trainer

Sale considered unlikely, however, as South American nation looks to upgrade fleets

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has asked Brazil to evaluate an F-50 fighter variant of its T-50 advanced trainer as it looks to secure its first export sale of the aircraft.

Industry sources say Brazilian air force commander Lt Brig Luiz Carlos Bueno was given a presentation on the F-50 – which KAI is promoting as a potential Northrop F-5 replacement – plus the T-50 and A-50 attack aircraft during a May visit to South Korea. However, the sources say Brazil is unlikely to acquire the KAI/Lockheed Martin-developed aircraft, as it is upgrading its AMX advanced trainer and F-5 fighter fleets. Preliminary discussions also took place during the visit over the possible sale to Brazil of eight stored South Korean F-5Es and eight F-5Fs to meet part of an air force requirement for 20-24 aircraft to cover attrition.

KAI's four T-50 prototypes have passed 1,000 flights and are around 90% through the flight-test programme. The South Korean air force's first of 50 T-50 trainers and 44 lead-in fighters are set for delivery in October and a KAI proposal to supply additional F-50 strike aircraft is being evaluated. The T-50 is expected to make its international debut at November's Dubai air show to support a sales campaign in the United Arab Emirates and may fly at February's Asian Aerospace show in Singapore.

BRENDAN SOBIE/SINGAPORE

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