Updated : 2016-11-13
By Rachel Lee
The T-50A trainer jet will have its first test flight in the United States this week, according to its developer, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), Sunday.
The test flight will take place at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Pilot Training facility in Greenville, S.C., Thursday (local time). Officials from the U.S. Department of Defense and media will attend the event.
The T-50A, developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and KAI, is an upgraded version of the T-50 Golden Eagle. It had its first successful test at Sacheon in South Gyeongsang Province in June, boding well for KAI’s bid to sell the T-50A to the United States, which is seeking to upgrade its trainer fleet.
Lockheed, teaming up with KAI, is offering the T-50A for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X project to buy 350 trainer jets, in which it is contesting with BAE Systems-Northrop Grumman and Boeing-Saab Group consortiums, both of which plan to offer clean-sheet designs.
Initially, high-ranking South Korean officials, including Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo and Vice Defense Minister Hwang In-moo, had planned to attend the event, but cancelled due to the ongoing political turmoil here.
The T-50A follows on the success of the T-50, a supersonic, light combat jet which was developed in 2006. A single, large-area display (LAD) as well as an assimilated-training program are mounted on the plane.
The U.S. Air Force is expected to issue notice of bidding by the end of the year and sign a contract in 2017.
Original post koreatimes.co.kr