Thales announced that it has been awarded a contract by Korea’s Aerospace Industries (KAI) to equip FA-50 fighters for Poland with its highly successful Scorpion® Helmet Mounted Display (HMD). Under the terms of this contract, Thales is responsible for adapting, integrating, and qualifying the Scorpion® HMD onto KAI’s FA-50 Fighting Eagle, as well as installing production systems, to support the Republic of Korea’s FA-50 contract with Poland. With its digital cockpit, digital flight control system, and impressive array of precision-guided weapons, the FA-50 is well-equipped for all-weather combat operations day and night. Scorpion® is a perfect match as it offers a modern, digital platform that equips pilots with enhanced situational awareness.
“We are excited to add the FA-50 to the long list of highly capable combat aircraft embracing our Scorpion HMD. For KAI we also supply rotary wing versions for their Light Armed and Marine Attack helicopters. Scorpion’s simplified approach to platform integration, superior situational awareness, high reliability, and enhanced pilot comfort makes this system unmatched in the HMD marketspace,” said Jim Geraghty, Vice President, Visionix a division of Thales Defense & Security Inc.
The highly accurate Scorpion® Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) features full-color symbology, zero-perceived latency, and a single display module for both day and night operations – all at reduced life-cycle costs. Motion-tracking accuracy, using Scorpion’s precision Hybrid Optically-based Inertial Tracker (HObIT™), is also significantly improved over competing systems. Thales expects this contract is just the start as the FA-50 Fighting Eagle is made available to customers worldwide. Scorpion® is well-suited to also be easily adapted onto the T-50 Advanced Jet Trainer and TA-50 Lead-in Fighter Trainer, as HMDs are becoming integral to most current and future combat aircraft.
On 22 July 2022, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in a media interview that the country is buying 48 FA-50 fighters. On 28 July, KAI officially signed the deal for 12 FA-50 Block 10 and 36 FA-50PL Block 20 with the Polish government. FA-50 deliveries are to start in 2023. Blaszczak said KAI’s ability to deliver the aircraft quickly was the decisive factor in it being chosen. As a result of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Polish Air Force desired urgently to replace their remaining MiG-29 fighter and Su-22 attack aircraft and the U.S. was unable to supply additional F-16s in such a short timeframe. Along with the fighter deal, KAI is expected to help establish a servicing center for them in Poland in cooperation with Polish defense industries by 2026.