Tag Archives: Korea Aerospace Industries

Lockheed Martin flies the T-50A

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)

Naval Surion helo successful in South Korea

The naval variant of South Korea’s multi-purpose  Surion helicopter has been succesfully tested, manufacturer Korea Aeropsace Industries (KAI) reported on Tuesday 29 December. The new variant is destined to serve with South Korean marine forces.

KAI claims development of the naval variant of the Korean Utility Helicopter was successful, having been in development and testing since 2013. An initial version of the Surion helicopter already flies for police forces in South Korea. The naval version adds two fuel tanks, emergency floats and a folding system for the rotor blades.

Medevac and fire fighting version of the Surion are also on the table. Deliveries of those should start in 2016 and 2017 respectively.


KAI aims at selling 400 Surion helicopters locally and 600 abroad over the next 20 years. The company specifically mentions the Czech Republic, Iran and Thailand as potential customers.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The naval Surion helicopter (Image © KAI)

First Golden Hawks delivered to Philippines

UPDATED 28 November | The first two FA-50 Golden Hawks for the the Philippine Air Force left South Korea on Friday 27 November according to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The jets are expected to arrive in the Philippines later today, marking the end of a period that left the Philippine Air Force without any credible combat assets.

Update | The two Golden Hawks arrived in the Philippines on Saturday 28 November at 10.23 am local time. Pics are here.

The two Golden Hawks left the KAI factory airfield in Sacheon early on Friday and headed south. They are expected at Clark airbase near Manila on Saturday. The delivery comes 18 months after a contract for 12 aircraft was signed at an estimated worth of 420 million USD. The first Phillipine aircraft took flight in June this year.


Until 2005, the Philippines operated F-5A/B Freedom Fighters to protect its skies. Afterwards, Aermacchi S-211 trainer jets were modified for that role, but in reality these were insufficient to provide a credible air-to-air and air-to-ground capability.

Air forces

The Philippine Air Force joins the air forces of South Korea and Indonesia in operating the type. Iraq has 24 Golden Hawks on order for F-16 pilot training. The first of those are now performing test flights from Sacheon.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The first two Philippine Air Force T-50s take off from Sacheon in South Korea. (Image © KAI/Facebook)


Into the daylight: first Iraqi T-50

Pictures of the first Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 trainer aircraft for the Iraqi Air Force appeared on the internet this week. The first aircraft, designated T-50IQ, was seen at KAI’s production facility in Sacheon. It is part of an order placed in 2013 for 24 aircraft, worth 1.1 billion USD. Iraqi will use the type as Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) for its equally new Lockheed Martin F-16IQs.

The first aircraft is now involved in test flights, with first deliveries scheduled for next year. Recently, Thailand also ordered the T-50. Other users are South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The first Iraqi T-50, fresh out of production. (Image © KAI)

Thailand orders T-50 trainers

Thailand has signed a contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the purchase of four T-50 Golden Eagle jet trainers, as announced on Thursday 17 September. The order is worth 110 million USD.

The aircraft should be delivered from 2017 onwards. The T-50 is already in service in South Korea and Indonesia, while Iraq and the Philippines have also ordered the type. The Thai deal marks a significant success for KAI in the very competitive trainer market. In Thailand, the T-50 is set to replace the Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros trainer.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A KAI T-50 during a test flight. (Image © Dennis Spronk)