KAI T-50 Golden Eagle - Advanced trainer

KAI T-50 Golden Eagle
KAI T-50 Golden Eagle

Militarymedia.net - The T-50 Golden Eagle is a light supersonic trainer jet. It was developed by a South Korean aircraft company called Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in collaboration with US-based Lockheed Martin. Its development began in the mid-1990s. Development costs are shared 17% by KAI, 13% by Lockheed Martin and 70% by the South Korean government. The Golden Eagle made its first flight in 2002. Since 2005 this aircraft is in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (49 units). It has been exported to Indonesia (16) and ordered by Iraq and the Philippines. In 2015, a total of 116 of these aircraft were built in four different variants. Another 96 aircraft of different variants have been ordered and will be delivered in the near future. In the next 30 years, KAI and Lockheed Martin plan to sell around 1,000 Golden Eagles and variants to various customers.

The trainer is powered by a General Electric F404 turbofan with afterburner. This machine is manufactured under a General Electric license, by a South Korean company called Samsung Hanwha Techwin. The aircraft has a top speed of 1,640 km / h at an altitude of 9 km, which makes the Golden Eagle one of the fastest trainers in the world.

This aircraft is in the same class as training aircraft such as the American Boeing / BAE Systems T-45 Goshawk. It is generally agreed that the Golden Eagle is better than the Yakovlev Yak-130 or BAE Systems Hawk. However, according to Singapore defense officials, the price / quality ratio is not in the favor of the Golden Hawk. At a per unit cost of between $ 21 million and $ 30 million, the Singapore Ministry of Defense decided to cancel their bid for the Golden Hawk, and decided to buy the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master instead. According to them, even the BAE Systems Hawk is a more sensible choice than the South Korean aircraft.

The basic KAI T-50 evolved into a whole family of military aircraft, all of which can be used as trainers.

Variants KAI T-50 Golden Eagle

The T-50B is an acrobatic version of the original model. This aircraft is only used by the Korean Air Force's aerobatics team, the so-called Black Eagles. South Korea operates 9 of these aircraft.

The TA-50's leading combat trainer and light attack aircraft. Initially it was given the name A-50. Typically the TA-50 is used as a trainer, although if needed it can be used as a light attack aircraft. The aircraft is fitted with a 20-mm 3-barrel rotary cannon. It can carry AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, Mk.82 or Mk.83 bombs. The aircraft is equipped with a multi-mode fire control radar. South Korea operates 22 of these aircraft. Iraq ordered 24 of these aircraft. Deliveries are planned to start in 2016.

FA-50 light multi-role fighter. This combat-ready version made its maiden flight in 2011. It can also carry a weapon similar to the TA-50. The aircraft is fitted with one General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel 20 mm rotary cannon. It has 7 hardpoints which can carry a total of 3,740 kg of weaponry. The aircraft is equipped with a multi-mode fire control radar. Some sources report that in some cases the FA-50 is even compatible with the KAI KF-16 multi-role fighter. The Republic of Korea adopted the aircraft in 2013 and operates 20 of them, while another 60 are on order. It replaces the aging F-5E / F Tiger II. The Philippine Air Force ordered 12 of these aircraft.

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