Republic of Korea Air Force TA-50 Advanced Trainers and Light Combat Aircraft
Republic of Korea Air Force TA-50 Advanced Trainers and Light Combat Aircraft

Korea Aerospace Wins $575 Million TA-50 Block-2 Advanced Trainers Deal

Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI) has received a 688 billion-won (US$575 million) order to supply trainer jets for South Korea’s Air Force by 2024. KAI signed the deal with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration to manufacture a total of 20 TA-50 Block-2 lead-in fighter aircraft for radar tactical and combat mission training, the company said in a statement. KAI’s net profit jumped 87 percent to 79.5 billion won in the January-March period from 42.5 billion won a year earlier.

The TA-50 Block-2 jet is the upgraded version of the TA-50 aircraft, which are now in service. The TA-50 variant is a more heavily armed version of the T-50 trainer, intended for lead-in fighter training and light attack roles. In 2011, the first squadron with the TA-50, become operational with the ROKAF. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 is equipped with the Elta EL/M-2032 fire control radar. The TA-50 is designed to operate as a full-fledged combat platform for precision-guided weapons, air-to-air missiles, and air-to-ground missiles.

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Republic of Korea Air Force TA-50 Advanced Trainers and Light Combat Aircraft
Republic of Korea Air Force TA-50 Advanced Trainers and Light Combat Aircraft

The TA-50 version has a three-barrel cannon version of the M61 Vulcan mounted internally behind the cockpit, which fires linkless 20 mm ammunition. Wingtip rails can accommodate the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, and a variety of additional weapons can be mounted to underwing hardpoints. Compatible air-to-surface weapons include the AGM-65 Maverick missile, Hydra 70 and LOGIR rocket launchers, CBU-58 and Mk-20 cluster bombs, and Mk-82, −83, and −84 general-purpose bombs. The TA-50 version is equipped with an ELTA EL/M-2032 fire control radar.

The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle is 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. KAI has exported a total of 148 trainer jets worth US$3.1 billion — 64 T-50 advanced trainer jets worth $2.4 billion and 84 KT-1 basic trainer jets worth $700 million — to countries such as Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, Peru and the Philippines since its foundation in 1999.

Republic of Korea Air Force TA-50 Advanced Trainers and Light Combat Aircraft
Republic of Korea Air Force TA-50 Advanced Trainers and Light Combat Aircraft
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