Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is in talks with the Slovakian government to sell 10 FA-50 light combat aircrafts in a $500 million deal. Slovakia has been seeking to replace its aging fleet of L-39 Albatros trainer jets. The country is expected to issue a request for proposals in the first half of next year. KAI is set to sign a deal with Slovakian aircraft repair company LOTN on Wednesday in Hungary upon President Moon Jae-in’s European tour this week. The president, who arrived in Budapest on Tuesday for a state visit, will hold a summit Thursday with the prime ministers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.
The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). It is a light combat version of KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft. The indigenously developed KAI FA-50 light combat aircraft replaced the ROKAF’s ageing fighter fleet of F-5E/F and A-37 aircraft. The FA-50, developed by KAI and Lockheed Martin armed with AIM-9, AGM-65G and other missiles, the plane can conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. Lockheed Martin’s Sniper advanced targeting pod (ATP) will be integrated onto the FA-50 platform.
Korea Aerospace Industries was awarded a $600m contract by the DAPA in December 2011 for the production and supply of 20 KAI FA-50 aircraft to the ROKAF by 2014. DAPA placed a KRW1.1tn ($1bn) follow-on serial production contract with KAI for the FA-50 aircraft in May 2013. The deliveries of the aircraft began in 2013. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) chose 12 KAI TA-50 aircraft to fulfill its requirement for a light attack and lead-in fighter trainer aircraft. The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) announced the selection of the type in August 2012. 12 FA-50PH light fighter aircraft were delivered by 31 May 2017.
The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer developed in Czechoslovakia by Aero Vodochody. It was designed during the 1960s as a replacement for the Aero L-29 Delfín as a principal training aircraft. It was the first trainer aircraft to be equipped with a turbofan powerplant. The type was exported to a wide range of countries as a military trainer. The Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world; in addition to performing basic and advanced pilot training, it has also flown combat missions in a light-attack role. The design never received a NATO reporting name.