T-50B Golden Eagle training jets from the Republic of Korea Air Force flew over the pyramids in Giza, Egypt
T-50B Golden Eagle training jets from the Republic of Korea Air Force flew over the pyramids in Giza, Egypt

AOI Confirms Agreement to Produce South Korean T-50 Jet Trainers for Egyptian Air Force

On November 30, Egypt’s state owned Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) signed a cooperation agreement with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for manufacturing of training aircraft in Egypt. In a statement released on 16 January, the AOI said its chairman, Mokhtar Abdel-Latif, had met a South Korean delegation that included members of parliament and senior officials from KAI and Hanwha Aerospace. They discussed the implementation of the AOI’s agreement with KAI to localise the manufacturing technology for an advanced training aircraft to meet the needs of the armed forces and export it to African and Arab countries. Although the press release did not specify the specific model of the aircraft, it is obvious that it refers to the T-50 Golden Eagle. South Korea had demonstrated the T-50B trainer at Egypt’s Pyramids Air Show in August 2022.

During the talks, the executive steps to implement the agreement of the AOI with the KAI to localize the technology of manufacturing an advanced training aircraft to meet the needs of the armed forces, and export to African and Arab countries, were discussed, by making use of the advanced production capacities of the aircraft factory of the Arab Organization for Industrialization. Partnerships were also discussed to deepen and increase the proportions of local manufacturing, transfer and localization of technology, by taking advantage of the manufacturing capabilities of Arab Industrialization and the expertise enjoyed by the South Korean industry. Senior officials of the Korea Aerospace Industries Company (KAI) stressed the importance of implementing the agreement with the Arab Organization for Industrialization to localize the technology of manufacturing advanced training aircraft.

The Chairman of the AOI discusses Cooperation with the President of the National Association for Defense Affairs in the South Korean Parliament and a Korean delegation. (Photo by Arab Organization for Industrialization)

The Egyptian Air Force plans to purchase new basic and advanced flight training aircraft to replace the fleet of obsolete machines. It was reported that the AOI Aircraft Factory in Helwan was producing more than 94% of the aircraft when the 120th and final new K-8E was delivered in May 2010. Czech Aero Vodochody offered its new TCB L-39NG.In December 2021, the Italian Leonardo group offered the M-346 “Master” jet TCB or its reduced version of the M-345 to replace the K-8E. However, since then, the media has not reported on any progress in negotiations on this program. The aircraft will be manufactured at the AOI aviation plant in Helwan, which previously assembled Chinese K-8E training aircraft for the Egyptian Air Force under license.

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. A F-50 single-seat multirole fighter variant was considered before being cancelled. The T-50B serves with the South Korean air force’s aerobatics team. The T-50 has been ordered by a number of countries and entered into service in some of them.