The Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) has received into service its 24th and final Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50IQ Fighting Eagle light fighter and trainer aircraft. T-50IQ is an Iraqi Air Force version of the FA-50 light attack variant of the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainer jet. The IqAF fields the twin-seat T-50IQ primarily as a lead-in fighter trainer for its 36 Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters. Basic flight training takes place on Serbian Utva Lasta 95 piston-engined aircraft, with intermediate training on the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II turboprop.
Iraq was negotiating the acquisition of T-50 trainer jets, having first publicly expressed official interest during the Koreaâ€“Iraq summit in Seoul on 24 February 2009. In April 2010, Iraq reopened the jet lead-in fighter-trainer competition for 24 aircraft, in which TA-50 competed. In December 2013, it was announced that Iraq signed a contract for 24 aircraft of the FA-50 variant designated T-50IQ, plus additional equipment and pilot training over the next 20 years. Deliveries were to begin in April 2016, with all aircraft to be delivered over the next 12 months.
The KAI T-50 Golden Eagleis a family of South Korean supersonic advanced trainers and light combat aircraft, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with Lockheed Martin. The T-50 is South Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft and one of the world’s few supersonic trainers. Development began in the late 1990s, and its maiden flight occurred in 2002. The aircraft entered active service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in 2005. The T-50 has been further developed into aerobatic and combat variants, namely T-50B, TA-50, and FA-50.