Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) have signed a teaming agreement for future T-50 opportunities, the newest partnership in the decades-long relationship between the companies. The program has reduced the number of required flights for Korean pilots learning in the KF-16 to only nine sorties. Feedback from many of the 2,500 pilots who have been trained in the T-50 across 3,750 test flights says it’s easy to fly and offers controls similar to other Lockheed Martin aircraft like the F-16 and F-35. This allows student pilots to focus their airmanship skills on improved aero performance, digital flight controls and next-generation air traffic management systems. Additionally, a ground-based training system contains an array of innovative technologies to provide options for training in a simulation environment.
“Lockheed Martin is an air power solutions leader, delivering capabilities across the entire spectrum of training and combat aircraft. We are proud to continue to partner with KAI on the T-50 to leverage our collective experiences to train the next generation of pilots to fly, fight and win. the T-50 is a proven aircraft program that reduces the learning curve for new pilots and gets them flying operational sorties faster – even in fifth-generation aircraft like the F-35. That’s important as air forces around the world need to get their pilots up to speed faster than ever before, whether that’s to fill a gap in personnel or due to increased frequency of combat missions,” says Aimee Burnett, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group Business Development at Lockheed Martin.
At any given time, around the world, Lockheed Martin is working side-by-side with those in uniform to keep fleets ready to fly at a moment’s notice. Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries are focused on readiness for the fleets and customers they support and bringing new digital tools to enable new capabilities. As an example, with the T-50, the mission capable rate is holding strong at 90% across 300,000 flight hours – an outstanding result that demonstrates their focus. And from a production standpoint, T-50 components can be shipped to a single location and produced with minimal space with maximum ease. That’s because aircraft components would be shipped in two containers and ready upon arrival in their home destination, for final assembly and check-out.
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. 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 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 light fighter variant. Thailand ordered 12 units of the T-50 advanced trainer 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.