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  • KAI / Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

    The T-50 Golden Eagle is an advanced supersonic trainer that can double as a light attack strike fighter.

     Updated: 4/26/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The T-50 / A-50 "Golden Eagle" is an advanced supersonic trainer and light strike-capable aircraft platform produced jointly by the South Korean firm of Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the American firm of Lockheed Martin. The resulting design is a highly modified derivative of the Lockheed Martin (formerly General Dynamics) F-16 "Fighting Falcon", of which KAI license-builds as the "KF-16" (the wing shape and single rudder design are apparent). The Golden Eagle twin-seat trainer has been procured in limited numbers with the South Korean Air Force.

    The T-50 family was developed to replace a slew of active, though aging, platforms for the South Korean Air Force. More importantly, the involvement by Lockheed Martin ensured that the American company would assist in developing a next-generation advanced trainer capable of instructing a new crop of fighter pilots - particularly those that may end up in the cockpits of the Lockheed F-22 Raptor, Lockheed F-35 Lightning II, French Dassault Rafale and the European consortium Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. Much like the F-16 Fighting Falcon before it, the T-50 features a large glass canopy (the pilots seated in tandem), a single large-area vertical tail fin and a single turbofan powerplant in the General Electric F404 series. The system's developmental funding was split between the two participating firms with the government of South Korea taking on all remaining costs. The prototype recorded its first flight on August 20th, 2002. Prior to, the entire F-50 program suffered through financial setbacks before coming back on track. The T-50 was formally introduced into service on February 22nd, 2002. It has since been adopted by the Indonesian Air Force as well beginning in 2013 (16 aircraft - 12 T-50s and 4 x TA-50s). Production of T-50 aircraft began in 2001 and is ongoing as of this writing (2013). South Korea manages a stable of 102 aircraft made up of 50 x T-50s, 10 x T-50Bs, 22 x TA-50s and 20 x FA-50 (the latter on order as of 2013).

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    KAI T-50 / TA-50 Golden Eagle Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 2005
    Type: Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft
    National Origin: South Korea
    Manufacturer(s): Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) - South Korea / Lockheed Martin - USA
    Production Total: 82

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 42.59 feet (12.98 meters)
    Width: 30.09 feet (9.17 meters)
    Height: 15.68 feet (4.78 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 14,200 lb (6,441 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 26,422 lb (11,985 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine developing 17,700 lb of thrust with afterburning.

    Maximum Speed: 990 mph (1,593 kph; 860 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,150 miles (1,851 km)
    Service Ceiling: 47,999 feet (14,630 meters; 9.09 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    1 x 20mm General Dynamics A-50 Vulcan gatling three-barrel cannon.
    2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (wingtip mounts).

    6 x AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles
    CBU-58 Cluster Bombs
    Mk-20 Cluster Bombs
    LAU-3 Rocket Pods
    LAU-68 Rocket Pods
    Mk 82 General Purpose Bombs
    Mk 83 General Purpose Bombs
    Mk 84 General Purpose Bombs
    Guided Drop Bombs

    Global Operators / Customers

    Indonesia; Iraq; Philippines; South Korea; Thailand

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    T-50 - Advanced Jet Trainer Designation; sans internal gun and radar system.

    T-50B - Designation reserved for the acrobatic mount of the Black Eagles team.

    TA-50 - "Fighter Lead-In" Attack Designation; internal 20mm cannon; air-to-air missile capability; external drop bomb capability; APG-67 radar.

    FA-50 - Light Attack Multi-Role Model; Day/Night Mission Capability; RWR, CMDS, FLIR an Tactical Data Link.

    T-50A MDS - Reserved US Military Designation should it decide to procure the T-50 platform.

    A-50 - Original designation of the FA-50.