Aerial Warfare

Korea Aerospace Industries Unveils First FA-50GF Light Combat Aircraft for Poland

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Korea Aerospace Industries Unveils First FA-50GF Light Combat Aircraft for Poland

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Korea Aerospace Industries Unveils First FA-50GF Light Combat Aircraft for Poland
Korea Aerospace Industries Unveils First FA-50GF (Block 20) Light Combat Aircraft for Poland

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has unveiled the first FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for Poland. Poland’s government signed a contract with the Republic of Korea on July 27 to buy FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft from Korea KAI. Poland is buying 48 FA-50s to equip three squadrons, with the first 12 due to be delivered by the middle of next year, valued at around $2.5 billion. It is KAI’s ability to deliver the aircraft quickly that has been the decisive factor in Poland chosing the FA-50. The procurement has become urgent in the light of the Ukraine conflict, and an increasing need to replace the last of the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-22 fighters in Polish Air Force service.

The first twelve light combat aircraft, all model FA-50GF Block 10, are expected to be delivered by mid-2023. These aircraft are designated FA-50GF—for “gap-filler”—and are essentially Block 10 aircraft with AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod capability. They have NATO-compatible IFF and are fitted with Link 16 datalink. Armament options include AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles (ASMs). The first two aircraft are scheduled for handover in August, with the remaining 10 to be delivered to Poland by 2025. The order for the FA-50 light attack aircraft was signed on 28 July 2022 for a total of 48 aircraft, 12 FA-50 Block 10 and 36 FA-50PL Block 20.

Korea Aerospace Industries Unveils First FA-50GF Light Combat Aircraft
Korea Aerospace Industries unveils first FA-50GF (Gap-Filler) Light Combat Aircraft. (Photo KAI)

KAI is scheduled to deliver the main $2.3 billion batch of 36 FA-50PLs. This version, which equates to the Block 20, introduces a host of new features including a conformal fuel tank, retractable refueling probe, APG-83 AESA radar, and the ability to carry a much wider range of weapons, including beyond-visual range AAMs and medium-range ASMs. It is expected that the FA-50GFs will be raised to this standard in due course. Included in the overall FA-50 deal are spares, support, and simulators, all due for delivery by 2025. Another aspect of the deal is the creation of a service center, which is due to begin maintenance activities in 2026.

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 the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft. FA-50 aircraft can carry a weapons load of up to 4.5t. The aircraft can be armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground tactical missiles (AGM), GBU-38/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon (SFW), Mk-82 Low Drag General Purpose (LDGP) bombs and Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs). The aircraft is also mounted with an internal, three-barrel 20mm Gatling gun and LAU-3/A 19-tube 2.75? rocket launcher for firing Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR).

 Korea Aerospace Industries unveils first FA-50GF (Gap-Filler) Light Combat Aircraft.
Korea Aerospace Industries unveils first FA-50GF (Gap-Filler) Light Combat Aircraft. (Photo KAI)

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