Tag Archives: Korean Aerospace Industries

Lockheed Martin T-X contribution: the T-50A

Lockheed Martin announced that it will offer the T-50A in the United States Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition, on Thursday 11 February. The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to replace the T-38 and train the next generation of pilots to fly 5th Generation aircraft, such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.

Lockheed Martin also announced that it has selected the company’s Greenville Operations facility in Greenville, South Carolina, as the preferred Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) site for the T-50A.

“The T-50A is production ready now. It is the only offering that meets all of the APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule,” said Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works). “We carefully studied a clean-sheet option for the APT competition and determined that it posed excessive risk to the APT cost and schedule requirements.”

The T-50A. (Image © Lockheed Martin)
The T-50A. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

T-50 orders

The KAI T-50 has been ordered by several other air forces. The first Iraqi air force aircraft is now involved in test flights, and the first deliveries are scheduled for this year. Also Thailand ordered the T-50, as well as South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image (top): Artist impression of the T-50A. (Image © KAI)

Philippines started arming their Korean light fighters

As expected the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has started to arm their new FA-50PH light fighter and close-air support aircraft with the purchase of 93,600 rounds of ammunition for the onboard General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel 20-mm rotary cannon.

Although only two of the twelve ordered fast jets from Korean Aerospace Industries have arrived, Manilla seems eager to get them up and running. Apart from the gun ammo chaffs and flares are being procured from Israeli Elbit Systems.

FA-50 payload

The FA-50s are also capable of carrying up to 8,250 lbs (3,740 kg) of payload on 4 underwing, 2 wingtip and one centreline pylons. Plans exist to equip the PAF’s FA-50 with at least AIM-9 Sidewinders and free-fall bombs, but at this stage it is not known yet if those weapons will be newly bought or come from existing stock.

Northrop F-5

The Philippine Air Force used to have combat jets with air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons until 2005, when the last of the Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighters were retired. The nation required 37 of those jets between 1965 and 1998. With China projecting its military might and tensions rising over the Spratly Island, the Philippines have restarted a re-weaponizing program, but with limited funds.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The first two Philippine Air Force T-50s take off from Sacheon in South Korea (Image © KAI)

Green light for Korean KF-X next-gen fighter

The South Korean Ministry of Defence has given Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) a green light to go ahead with its development of the next-generation fighter jet for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).

The KF-X – as the project is called – aims to provide the Asian nation with at least 120 new modern combat jets. Together with the F-35 they will have to replace the aging fleets of McDonnell Douglas F-4s and Northrop F-5s of the RoKAF, and they will eventually take over the essential role of Korea’s Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Starting in 2025 the KF-X is expected to slowly enter service. The initial budget for the development has been put on US$ 7.8 billion, with more than 8 billion dollars reserved for initial production.

To get the bid KAI teamed up with Lockheed Martin, with whom it has cooperated as well on the successful T-50 advanced training jet and F-50 light fighter/attack aircraft. The partners beat the Korean Air Lines/Airbus team.

Seen landing at Sacheon is the second KAI T-50 prototype. The installation over the exhaust houses an anti spin dragchute. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Seen landing at Sacheon is the second KAI T-50 prototype. The installation over the exhaust houses an anti spin dragchute. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

What the KF-X will look like is still uncertain. There are several designs on the drawing board, including a version with canards near the cockpit and with both single and double engines. Lockheed Martin prefers a single engine concept, because it is cheaper to develop and easier to design.

The development of a KIA/Lockheed Martin aircraft takes place next to the planned introduction of 40 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft into RoKAF service, with the first of these stealthy combat jets planned to arrive in 2018 or 2019. The deal was announced in September, after Seoul ditched the earlier selection of 60 newly developed Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagles. A public revolt of former Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) generals pushed the Seoul government in the direction of the Lightning.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The Republic of Korea Air Force next generation KF-X fighter jet might look somewhat like this, but possibly with only one engine (Image © Ministry of Defence, South Korea)

A head on view of the F-35A. (Image © Lockheed Martin)
A head on view of the F-35A. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

After exit General Dynamics, Alenia Aermacchi still in T-X race

Alenia Aermacchi is still in the race to provide the US Air Force with 350 new T-X advanced training jets to replace the aging Northrop T-38 Talons in American service. The bid by the Italian aircraft manufacturer got a serious blow when its planned primary partner, General Dynamics, dropped out of the race.

(Image © Dennis Spronk)
AHF↑Inside: The Italian Training Recipe
General Dynamics, the company that designed and made the famous F-16 multirole jet and sold its aircraft division to Lockheed (Martin) in 1993, said it needs time and energy to reorganise itself and that it therefore cannot continue to become lead contractor for Alenia Aermacchi’s planned Americanised version of the M-346 advanced training jet. But the Italians are keeping there hopes up to go ahead with what they have named the T-100 and have engaged business discussions with a yet to be named US company. Winning the partnership of a American based firm is essential to win the order.

L-3 Communications
L-3 Communications in Waco, Texas, is the most likely “discussion partner” for Alenia Aermacchi, as the US company has already joined forces on the Italian C-27J Spartan aircraft. But Northrop Grumman was also hoping for the support of L-3, which makes matters ratter complicated. But there might be an opening, as Northrop Grumman together with its main partner BAE Systems seems to have stepped away from the earlier plan to offer the US Air Force a “pimped” version of the Hawk advanced jet trainer – meaning L-3 could re-discuss its involvement.

A USAF T-38 at Edwards Air Force Base (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A USAF T-38 at Edwards Air Force Base (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Boeing / SAAB
Probably Alenia Aermacchi’s biggest competitor in the bidding race is the Boeing / SAAB partnership. The SAAB JAS 39 Gripen multirole fighter is already a perfect, but overqualified candidate to replace the T-38. SAAB already admitted it has “a few hundred people working on the project”, with employees working in St. Louis, Missouri, and Boeing personnel at work at SAAB headquarters in Linköping, Sweden.

SAAB’s joint effort with Boeing – which bought the impressive McDonnell Douglas fighter heritage – to modify and “down develop” the ideas behind the Gripen into an advanced jet trainer – could be lethal to the competition, also to third bidder Lockheed Martin working with Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) to adapt the Korean T-50 jet.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The M-346 advanced trainer in mid-flight (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

The South African Air Force's SAAB JAS 39D Gripen '01' which was involved in testing the new A-Darter in February 2015 (Image © Frans Dely / Gripen International)
Just think equally advanced, but focused on combat pilot training needs – a Boeing co-developped spin-off of this SAAB JAS 39D Gripen could be a replacement for the US Air Force’s T-38 fleet. It’s biggest fear might be the Alenia Aermacchi T-100 with a new American partner (Image © Frans Dely / Gripen International)

Indonesian KT-1 crash at LIMA

Two KT-1B Wongbees of Indonesian Air Force team Jupiter collided on Sunday 15 March during a rehearsal for the LIMA 2015 airshow at Langkawi, Malaysia. At least two pilots were seen to eject using their parachutes. The airshow organizers report ‘four pilots’ are safe and under observation in Langkawi Hospital.

The crash happened as two aircraft collided during a cross over manoeuvre. One aircraft crashed in a wooded area, while the other one came down near houses, setting fire to one. No casualties are reported on the ground.

The Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1B Wongbee is a turboprop trainer aircraft in service in South Korea, Turkey and Indonesia. Peru has also ordered the type. The Indonesian Air Force took delivery of 17 aircraft, of which was one was already lost in a crash in 2010. Team Jupiter has been flying six KT-1s since 2008.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) will form a joint team to investigate the cause of the accident.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Team Jupiter. (Image © TNI-AU / Twitter)