Korea’s T-50 Family of Trainers/Fighters
December 2/15: The Philippine Air Force (PFA) has received the first two FA-50 Golden Eagle fighters from South Korea. 12 were ordered in 2013 in a deal between the two governments totaling $400 million. The remaining jets will be delivered in batches throughout 2017 with the first two being utilized as trainers. Weapons systems for the fighters are to be purchased later, but it is said that an Israeli firm is being looked at to meet these requirements. The purchases come at a time when the Philippines is trying to beef up its maritime and air force capabilities amid creeping expansion by China in the South China Sea.
South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle family offers the global marketplace a set of high-end supersonic trainer and lightweight fighter aircraft. They’re hitting the international market at a good time: just as many of the world’s jet training fleets are reaching ages of 30 years or more, and high-end fighters are pricing themselves out of reach for many countries.
Most recently, Thailand is increasing its defense budget and the speed of its procurement process to, among other things, procure a replacement for its aging L-39. The T-50 is one of three candidates.
The ROK’s defense industry is advancing on all fronts these days. Its shipbuilding industry, one of the world’s busiest, is beginning to turn out its own LHDs, and even high-end KDX-III AEGIS destroyers. On the armored vehicle front, Korea’s XK2 tank and K9/K10 self propelled howitzer are beginning to win export orders, and its XK-21/KNIFV amphibious infantry fighting vehicle may not be too far behind. All fill key market niches, promising performance at a comparatively inexpensive price. Now its aerospace industry is in flight abroad with the KT-1 turboprop basic trainer, complemented by the T-50 jet trainer, TA-50 LIFT advanced trainer & attack variant, and FA-50 lightweight fighter.
The TA-50 and FA-50 are especially attractive as lightweight export fighters, and the ROKAF’s own F-5E/F Tiger II and F-4 Phantom fighters are more than due for replacement. The key question for the platform is whether it can find corresponding export sales.
T/F/A-50: The Planes
T/F/A-50: The Program
Contracts & Key Events
2006 – 2007
2005 and Earlier
The T-50 Family
Competitors & Market
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