Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer and the Thailand government have reached an agreement on the new batch of KAI T-50TH Golden Eagle lead-in fighter trainers. The Royal Thai Air Force currently operates 12 T-50TH and ordered an upgrade program for its fleet in May of 2019. It was announced that the Thai government signed a contract for two additional aircraft of the FA-50 variant designated T-50TH plus additional equipment .
In September 2015, the Thai government chose a KAI T-50 variant, called the T-50TH, for its air force over the Chinese Hongdu L-15 to replace its aging L-39 Albatros trainers. The 4 T-50TH aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by March 2018. In July 2017, Thailand’s government approved the procurement of 8 more aircraft with a contract signing expected later in the month. Deliveries began in January 2018.
The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle is a family of South Korean supersonic advanced jet 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. The F-50 single-seat multirole fighter variant was considered. The T-50B serves with the South Korean air force’s aerobatics team. The TA-50 light attack variant has been ordered by Indonesia. The Philippines ordered 12 units of the FA-50 variant. The T-50A was marketed as a candidate for the United States Air Force’s next-generation T-X trainer program but failed to win.