The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle (골든이글) is a family of South Korean supersonic advanced trainers and multirole light fighters, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with the American aerospace company 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.
Development of the FA-50 combat aircraft began in October 1997. Six prototypes were built during the development phase that concluded in January 2006.
The FA-50 was awarded military type certificate by the Korean Military Aircraft Airworthiness Committee (MAAC) in October 2012. It is the first fighter-class military aircraft to receive the MAAC certification.
The indigenously developed FA-50 light attack aircraft will replace the ROKAF’s ageing fighter fleet of F-5E/F and A-37 aircraft. The FA-50 will also strengthen the defence capability of the ROKAF.
The FA-50 is the most advanced version of the T-50, possessing more internal fuel capacity, enhanced avionics, a longer radome and a tactical datalink. It is equipped with a modified Israeli EL/M-2032 pulse-Doppler radar with Korean-specific modifications by LIG Nex1.
Israeli EL/M-2032 pulse-Doppler radar
The engine could be either Eurojet EJ200 or General Electric F414, upgraded to 20,000 lb or 22,000 lb thrust, roughly 12-25% higher than the F404’s thrust; and are offered to prospective customers for the T-50.
The radar of the FA-50 has a range two-thirds greater than the TA-50’s radar. The EL/M-2032 was initially chosen over Lockheed Martin’s preferred AN/APG-67(V)4 and SELEX Vixen 500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. Other AESA radars such as Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar and Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar are options for future production, and may be shared with the radar chosen for USAF and ROKAF F-16 fighters. Samsung Thales is also independently developing a domestic multi-mode AESA radar for the FA-50.
KF-16 upgrade: Details
Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars (AESA) AN/APG-83ROKAF F-16 upgrade
The new contract also sees the Koreans drop the Raytheon produced AN/APG-68 radar for the AN/APG-83 produced by Northrop Grumman. @defenceindustrydaily.com
Unlike traditional mechanically scanned radars, SABR’s electronic scanning eliminates the need for moving parts. The single, consolidated line-replaceable unit contains the receiver, exciter, and process functions. Solid-state electronics foster three- to five-times greater reliability versus current fire-control radar systems. Electronically scanned beams accelerate area searches, resulting in earlier and longer range target detections and tracking. This also ensures rapid target updates and enables interleaved mode operations for greater mission effectiveness, situational awareness, and survivability.
SABR utilizes a larger-area, high-definition, synthetic aperture radar capability named “BIG SAR.” This alternative mode provides pilots with detailed target areas and digital map displays that can be precisely tailored. This, too, enables greater situational awareness, as well as more flexibility and quicker all-weather targeting. (Lockheed Martin)
In December 2008, South Korea awarded a contract to KAI to convert four T-50s to FA-50 standard by 2012. In 2012, the ROKAF ordered 20 FA-50 fighters to be delivered by the end of 2014. The maiden flight of the FA-50 took place in 2011. 60 FA-50 aircraft are to be produced for the ROKAF from 2013 to 2016. KAI received a 1.1 trillion won ($1 billion) order for FA-50 fighter aircraft in May 2013.
Samsung Thales and LIG Nex1 are the main avionics and electronic warfare equipment developers for T-50 and its variants.
The T-50 is equipped with a Honeywell H-764G embedded global positioning/inertial navigation system and HG9550 radar altimeter. The aircraft is the first trainer to feature triple-redundant digital fly-by-wire controls. The cockpit panels, switches, and joysticks are produced by South Korea’s FirsTec and Sungjin Techwin, head-up display by DoDaaM Systems, and multi-function display by Samsung Thales.
Honeywell H-764G embedded global positioning/inertial navigation system
EGI family includes the H-764
HG9550 radar altimeter
Honeywell to Supply Avionics for Korea Aerospace Industries LTD.’s T-50 Aircraft for Royal Thai Air Force: Here
T-50 advance cockpit
Other South Korean subcontractors such as Elemech, Dawin Friction, and Withus cooperate in T-50 components production. Hanwha supplies the mechanical parts for the flight control system, and WIA supplies the undercarriage.
- T-50: Advanced trainer version.
- T-50B: Aerobatic specialized T-50 version for Korea Air Force’s aerobatic display team, the Black Eagles.
- TA-50: Lead-in fighter trainer and light attack version.
- FA-50: Multirole fighter all-weather version. Originally named A-50, a prototype from a converted T-50 first flew in 2011.
- Indonesian Air Force – 16 T-50I aircraft ordered; all were delivered by 25 January 2014.
- Iraqi Air Force – 24 T-50IQ aircraft ordered, with deliveries to begin in April 2016.
- Republic of Korea Air Force – 49 T-50, 9 T-50B, 22 TA-50, 20 FA-50 aircraft in service as of October 2014.
- Philippine Air Force – 12 FA-50PH aircraft on order.
- Royal Thai Air Force – 4 T-50TH advance trainers ordered; to be delivered by 2018.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 13.14 m (43.1 ft)
- Wingspan: 9.45 m (31 ft) (with wingtip missiles)
- Height: 4.94 m (16.2 ft)
- Wing area: (23.69 m²)
- Empty weight: 6,470 kg (14,285 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 12,300 kg (27,300 lb)
- Powerplant: 1× General Electric F404 (built under license by Samsung Techwin) afterburning turbofan
- Dry thrust: 53.07 kN (11,925 lbf)
- Thrust with afterburner: 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf)
- Maximum speed: 1,640 km/h, 1,020 mph at 9,144 m or 30,000 ft (Mach 1.5)
- Range: 1,851 km (1,150 mi)
- Service ceiling: 14,630 m (48,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 11,887 m/min (39,000 ft/min)
- Thrust/weight: 0.96
- Max g limit: -3 g / +8 g
- Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel rotary cannon
- Hardpoints: Total of 7 with x4 underwing x2 wingtip and one under fuselage; holding up to 8,250 lb (3,740 kg) of payload
- AN/APG-67 (T-50)
- EL/M-2032 (TA-50 and FA-50)
- Lockheed Martin Advanced Avionics
- Note: armament for TA-50 and FA-50 only (Unless customized T-50 version)
General Electric F404 (built under license by Samsung Techwin) afterburning turbofan20 mm (0.787 in) General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel rotary cannonHydra 70 RockitsLOGIR rockets Guided a precision guided 2.75 inch (70 mm) rocket for use with existing Hydra 70 systems in service, as such it has many similarities with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System program. The principal difference between the systems is that while APKWS uses terminal laser homing, requiring the target to be ‘painted’ until impact, LOGIR would guide to a position supplied by the launching aircraft, using imaging infrared in the terminal phase making it a true fire-and-forget weapon.Another advantage of LOGIR was that it was “especially effective against swarm attacks by enemies like small boats, as there’s no need for ongoing guidance.”AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missileAIM-120 AMRAAM range 105-180 km at Mach 4AGM-65 Maverick using electro-optical, laser, charge-coupled device and infra-red guidance systems and has two types of warhead: one has a contact fuze in the nose, the other has a heavyweight warhead fitted with a delayed-action fuze, which penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before detonating range is greater than 22 km 1,150 km/hMk 82 (500 pound) and Mk 83 bombs (1,000 pound)The CBU-97 consists of an SUU-66/B tactical munition dispenser that contains 10 BLU-108 submunitions. Each submunition contains four hockey-puck-shaped sensor-fused projectiles called Skeets. These detect target vehicles, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks and other support vehicles, and fire a kinetic energy penetrator downwards at them.Spice 1000 guided weapon carries a 500 kg (1,000 pound) Mk 83 warhead. It is capable of attacking targets at ranges extended beyond 60 km.Spice 2000. An add-on kit for 2000 lb warheads such as the MK-84JDAM kits fitted to Mk 84, BLU-109, Mk 83, and Mk 82 unguided bombs