In a significant development for Poland’s defense arsenal, the delivery of the 7th and 8th FA-50 light combat aircraft, manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), was successfully completed today. These new FA-50s are now set to undergo integration processes in Minsk Mazowiecki before being handed over to the Polish Armed Forces. This delivery marks a crucial step in Poland’s effort to bolster its air defense capabilities, with a total of 48 FA-50 fighters slated for acquisition. The decision to acquire the FA-50s was driven by Poland’s urgent need to replace aging MiG-29 fighter and Su-22 attack aircraft. This imperative arose in the aftermath of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. In light of these circumstances, the United States was unable to supply additional F-16s within the required timeframe, making KAI’s ability to expedite the delivery of these advanced aircraft a pivotal factor in their selection.
The official agreement for this acquisition was inked on July 28, 2022, with KAI signing a deal with the Polish government for 12 FA-50 Block 10 and 36 FA-50PL Block 20 aircraft. The delivery schedule is set to commence in 2023. As part of the agreement, KAI is also expected to collaborate with Polish defense industries to establish a servicing center in Poland by 2026, further enhancing Poland’s self-reliance in maintaining its air defense fleet. The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft, an advanced variant of KAI’s T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic jet trainer and light attack aircraft. The development of the FA-50 began in 1997 and underwent rigorous testing phases before being awarded military type certification in 2012, making it the first fighter-class military aircraft to achieve such a distinction.
One of the key strengths of the FA-50 is its impressive weapons load capacity, with the ability to carry up to 4.5 tons of munitions. These include a wide array of armaments, such as AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick tactical missiles, GBU-38/B JDAMs, CBU-105 SFW, Mk-82 bombs, and rocket launchers. Additionally, the aircraft features an internal Gatling gun and rocket launcher, providing a versatile solution for countering various threats on today’s complex battlefield. The FA-50’s capabilities are further augmented by its integration with Lockheed Martin’s Sniper advanced targeting pod, which includes advanced targeting systems and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
With its affordability, efficiency, and supersonic capabilities, the FA-50 serves as an ideal choice for air forces around the world seeking a high-performance, cost-effective light attack platform. It boasts advanced radar systems that are comparable to those on the KF-16 fighter, providing exceptional detection capabilities. The FA-50 measures 13.14 meters in length, 9.45 meters in width, and 4.82 meters in height, with a maximum take-off weight of 12.3 tons. Its power plant, a General Electric F404-GE-102 turbofan engine, generates 17,700 pounds of thrust with afterburner, controlled by a dual-channel full authority digital engine control system. The aircraft’s performance is further bolstered by its fuel capacity, which includes both internal tanks and an external fuel tank, allowing for a maximum speed of 1,837.5 kilometers per hour (Mach 1.5).
Dzi? zrealizowano kolejn? dostaw? samolotów ??FA-50 – 7 i 8 egzemplarza. Nowe FA-50 niebawem zostan? przetransportowane do #Mi?skMazowiecki, gdzie przejd? proces integracji, po czym zostan? odebrane przez Si?y Zbrojne RP. pic.twitter.com/Abqed30Ute
— Agencja Uzbrojenia (@AgencjaUzbr) October 24, 2023