Role T-50: Advanced jet trainer
TA-50: Lead-in fighter trainer / FA-50: Light combat aircraft
National origin South Korea / United States
Manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries / Lockheed Martin
First flight 20 August 2002
Introduction 22 February 2005
Status In service
Primary users Republic of Korea Air Force / Indonesian Air Force / Philippine Air Force
Iraqi Air Force
Number built 200
The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle (골든이글) 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. Development began in the late 1990s, and its maiden flight occurred in 2002. 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. The F-50 single-seat multirole fighter variant was considered. The T-50B serves with the South Korean air force’s aerobatics team. The TA-50 light attack variant has been ordered by Indonesia.
The T-50 Golden Eagle design is largely derived from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and they have some similarities. KAI’s previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for T-50 development.
The trainer has seating for two pilots in a tandem arrangement. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots good visibility. The trainer has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against 4-lb objects impacting at 400 knots. The altitude limit is 14,600 metres (48,000 ft), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service. There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 litres (701 US gal), five in the fuselage and two in the wings. An additional 1,710 litres (452 US gal) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks. T-50 trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.
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In 2011, the first squadron with the TA-50, the T-50’s light attack variant, became operational with the ROKAF. The ROKAF’s Black Eagles aerobatic team operates the T-50B version. In 2014, the FA-50 was officially deployed by the ROKAF with President Park Geun-hye officially leading a ceremony during which a flight demonstration was held showing its capabilities. 20 FA-50s was assigned its own Air Force wing. 60 FA-50s were ordered by ROKAF. On 9 October 2014, an FA-50 successfully test fired an AGM-65 Maverick at a stationary target, a retired ship.
Korea Aerospace Industries (Korean: 한국항공우주산업, Hanja: 韓國航空宇宙産業) (KAI) is a South Korean aerospace and defense company.