Lockheed Martin this week successfully completed the initial flight test of its T-50A configured aircraft. The T-50A is the company’s aircraft offering in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training competition, and is based on the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI T-50 Golden Eagle. The first flight took place from Sacheon airfield in South Korea.
“The aircraft in its new configuration with the 5th Gen cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly,” said Mark Ward, Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot, after the flight in Sacheon, South Korea. “I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and 5th Generation fighters.”
According to Lockheed Martin, the T-50A meets all APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule at low risk. The company is currently standing up its T-50A Final Assembly and Checkout site in Greenville, South Carolina.
Also in the race to supply a new jet trainer to the US, are Saab and Boeing, who aim to jointly design a new aircraft. Leonardo Finmeccanica has teamed up with Raytheon and offers the T-100, an upgraded version of the M-346 Master.
Lockheed Martin at first also announced it would design a new aircraft, but then changed its mind. The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries. The latter so far delivered over 100 T-50 aircraft. The fleet has accumulated 100,000 flight hours and has trained more than 1,000 pilots.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The T-50A in flight. (Image © Lockheed Martin)