KAI announced on May 6th that the company concluded the contract for mass producing the FA-50, amounting to approximately 1.1 trillion won with The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (“DAPA”). In accordance with the contract, subsequent to the first mass production contract which was signed on 2011, KAI plans to deploy the aircraft (first production portion) for preparing for the actual battle beginning in August and seek its entire force integration until 2016.
The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft which was developed based on the T-50, a supersonic advanced trainer in order to replace the military’s superannuated fighters, like the F-5E/Fs and A-37s. The FA-50 combat aircraft is able to load up to 4.5 tons of weapons including the basic weapons like air-to-air/air-to-surface missiles and machine guns as well as precision guidance bombers such as JDAMs, or joint direct attack munitions and multi-purpose precision guidance CBUs (or cluster bomb units). Also, the FA-50 fighter, complete with a night vision apparatus, has a mission capability both in the daytime and in the night time and boasts its improved self-protection ability for the aircraft itself.
“The FA-50 aircraft is excellent in performance compared with the price. Through the operation of the home-grown airplane which is high in terms of operation ratio and is low in terms of maintenance cost, the Korean military’s self-reliance defense potential will be doubled,” an official at the military said. KAI won the order for the FA-50 PBL, or Performance Based Logistics project in November last year and is in charge of the development and production, stepping forward the subsequent support of the airplane.
KAI told, “Through the Korean military’s operation ability for the actual battle and KAI’s thorough logistics support, the confidence in the performance, safety and follow-up ability of the aircraft are further enhanced, which will accelerate the exports of the home-grown airplanes including the FA-50.”
In October last year, the FA-50 airplane was verified in terms of a flight safety test of about 1,300 items and acquired the Korea’s Type Certification for the first time in the Korea’s fighter-class aircraft, securing a bridgehead for exports. KAI, which set a goal for exporting more than 1,000 T-50 series airplanes forecasts positively the exports of the FA-50 and makes effort to export the T-50 series airplanes to other nations, like the Philippines, Iraq and Chile.
Thanks to the fact which the worldwide replacement demand for the old and superannuated F-5 and A-37 airplanes is on the increase more and more but the light attack aircraft which is able to substitute those planes is only the FA-50 model or something like it, KAI makes a positive evaluation on exporting the FA-50. The air forces of the nations in the world operate both the high-intensity mission fighters and low-intensity mission fighters at the same time, depending on their operation purpose.
In the meanwhile, KAI has won the orders for the FA-50, amounting to approximately 3 trillion won, including the contract thus far and is sailing smoothly to achieve the goal of 6.2 trillion won which the company set this year. “Thanks to the successful large-scale export contracts in the first half of this year, including the order amounting to 1.2 trillion won with Boeing in April in succession to the deal for fuselage parts worthy of approximately 460 billion won with Airbus in March, KAI predicts that its goal set for 2013 will be achieved without difficulty,” told KAI.