KAI T-50 Golden Eagle


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.

FA-50 Taxi Side View - Korea Aerospace Industries thru Flickr

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.

ELM_2032-Airborne-Fire-Control-Radar 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.

1hEurojet EJ200 GE_F414_Turbofan_Engine

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

EGI-FamilyShot-740x400.jpgImage @honeywell.com

HG9550 radar altimeter


Honeywell to Supply Avionics for Korea Aerospace Industries LTD.’s T-50 Aircraft for Royal Thai Air Force: Here

1438858935-1315857-o59407_800T-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.



South Korean Air Force FA-50 supersonic multi-purpose light fighter 1


Map with T-50 operators in blue



  • Iraqi Air Force – 24 T-50IQ aircraft ordered, with deliveries to begin in April 2016.


 Republic of Korea


  • Royal Thai Air Force – 4 T-50TH advance trainers ordered; to be delivered by 2018.



 Data from Korea Aerospace, Lockheed Martin

General characteristics

  • 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)




  • 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)

AN/APG-67 (T-50)

Source: airforce-technology.com/wikipedia

1_RM12-engine General Electric F404 (built under license by Samsung Techwin) afterburning turbofan500px-M197Gatling20 mm (0.787 in) General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel rotary cannonHydry_70_General_DynamicsHydra 70 Rockits20150426170330792731_serenedrLOGIR 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-9m-sidewinder-heat-seeking-air-to-air-missileAIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missilencade-amraam-820x438AIM-120 AMRAAM range 105-180 km at Mach 4agm65baf_02.jpgb7561800-3993-43a6-af3c-e25e84b4a3e5LargerAGM-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/hmk82usaf_01.jpg72b77f96-06b8-405a-abbb-a6161afb3959LargerMk 82 (500 pound) and Mk 83 bombs (1,000 pound)005659171-bigThe 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_11Spice 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.U1335P27T1D511081F3DT20080716075148Spice 2000. An add-on kit for 2000 lb warheads such as the MK-84JDAM_family_(1)JDAM kits fitted to Mk 84, BLU-109, Mk 83, and Mk 82 unguided bombs20120609125259a50-2

4 thoughts on “KAI T-50 Golden Eagle

  1. Pingback: KAI makes first delivery of fighter jets to the Philippines | thaimilitaryandasianregion

  2. Nicky

    Not a problem and that’s why I think their still is a niche for Pocket fighters and Point defense fighters such as the M-346 Master, BAE Hawk 200, Yak-130 and the F/A50 Golden Eagle. Look at the first generation of Pocket fighters and point defense fighters such as the A-4 Skyhawk.


  3. Nicky

    That’s why the F/A-50 fills a niche for a low cost pocket fighter and a point defense fighter for countries who are on an extremely tight budget. Pocket fighters like the M-346 Master, BAE Hawk 200, Yak-130 and the F/A50 Golden Eagle fulfill a niche for countries like the Philippines and even small countries who can’t afford High end European, Russian or American fighters. That’s why for countries who can’t afford a Gripen, the M-346 Master, BAE Hawk 200, Yak-130 and the F/A50 Golden Eagle is an option for them.

    I also think you need to cite this article in your blog that War is boring did

    This South Korean Jet Is a Bargain Dog fighter
    View story at Medium.com


    1. nonothai Post author

      Actually there are only 2 supersonic modern Pocket fighters as you call it the other is the Chinese Hongdu L-15 Falcon https://thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/hongdu-jl-10l-15-falcon-training-and-light-attack-aircraft/ the downside is it’s weapons which are Chinese for Air Forces which are already using western weapons it is costly I think that is one reason they failed the bid with the Royal Thai Air Force. But the Chinese have other supersonic trainers such as the Guizhou JL-9 https://thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/jl-9-jianlian-9-trainer-light-attack-aircraft-china/ but I guess they have the same downside unless you are already using Chinese weapons I guess. BTW thanks for the link to the article

      Liked by 1 person


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