Tuesday, January 25, 2011

S. Korea rolls out armed version of T-50 trainer jet

SOURCE :Koreaherald
South Korea on Monday rolled out the first armed version of its T-50 supersonic trainer aircraft, designed to carry out entry-level tactical training missions, according to the state military acquisition agency.The armed variant of the T-50, the nation’s first homegrown trainer jet, is intended to train fledgling military pilots on air-to-air and air-to-surface missions before their full operational deployment, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said.
The TA-50 can mount precision-guided weapons such as AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and TGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, according to DAPA officials.
The final unit of the TA-50 will be delivered by 2012. DAPA officials refuse to confirm the total number of the TA-50s to be put into operation, citing security reasons.
From 2013, the country will also begin deploying a more heavily armed version of the TA-50. Named the FA-50, the multi-role fighter jet is designed for light attack combat missions, officials said.
Jointly developed by Korea Aerospace Industries, the country’s sole aircraft maker, and U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin, South Korea unveiled the T-50 “Golden Eagle” in 2005.
In order to strengthen aerial defense capabilities and develop the local aviation industry, the country has spent 2.2 trillion won ($1.96 billion) on the T-50 project over eight years, starting in 1997.
After the first T-50 was delivered in December 2005, the Air Force began training with the T-50 in April 2007. The T-50 has a maximum speed of mach 1.5, with a maximum range of 800 nautical miles.

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