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KAI / Lockheed Martin T-50 / FA-50 Golden Eagle

Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

KAI / Lockheed Martin T-50 / FA-50 Golden Eagle

Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle of South Korea is an advanced supersonic jet trainer that can double as a light attack strike fighter if needed.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: South Korea
YEAR: 2005
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) - South Korea / Lockheed Martin - USA
PRODUCTION: 218
OPERATORS: Indonesia; Iraq; Philippines; South Korea; Thailand
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the KAI / Lockheed Martin T-50 / FA-50 Golden Eagle model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
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 pounds (6,441 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 26,422 pounds (11,985 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine developing 17,700 lb of thrust with afterburning.
SPEED (MAX): 990 miles-per-hour (1593 kilometers-per-hour; 860 knots)
RANGE: 1,150 miles (1,851 kilometers; 999 nautical miles)
CEILING: 47,999 feet (14,630 meters; 9.09 miles)




ARMAMENT



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

OPTIONAL:
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
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• 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.
• T-50TH - Royal Thai Air Force export model.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the KAI / Lockheed Martin T-50 / FA-50 Golden Eagle Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 9/27/2018. 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).

Initial evaluations during development saw the aircraft exceed Mach 1.0 though the design was initially estimated to achieve speeds of up to Mach 1.5. The engine provides full afterburning capabilities which supply short bursts of speed to the aircraft - maximum speed being 1,100 miles per hour at 10,000 feet. Operational range is 1,150 miles with a service ceiling of 48,000 feet. Triple-redundant, digital fly-by-wire technology is utilized for precision handling with dual controls available through both cockpits (as the T-50 can be utilized as an attack airframe or advanced trainer). The primary pilot/student resides in the front cockpit with the co-pilot/instructor in the rear. Avionics includes AN/APG-67 pulse Doppler radar (in the T-50) and EL/M-2032 advanced pulse Doppler Fire Control Radar (for the TA-50 and FA-50 marks).

The "Golden Eagle" is marketed as an advanced trainer under the designation of T-50, as a "fighter lead-in" platform under the TA-50 designation and as a light strike-capable variant under the FA-50 designation. These aircraft differ from one another mostly in the types of internal systems installed to achieve the desired mission role. The trainer does not mount the internal cannon nor advanced radar while the FA-50 is designed for day-and-night operations. The TA-50 is an in-between design combining the applications of both aircraft. All variants feature seating for two. The T-50B is a highly-specialized, high performance aerobatic demonstrator developed exclusively for the eight-aircraft-strong South Korean "Black Eagles" 53rd Air Demonstration Group.

In the armed strike role, the Golden Eagle can be outfitted with various conventional munitions to suit mission requirements. A standard internal 20mm General Dynamics A-50 gatling gun (a three-barreled version of the M61 Vulcan) is provided for close-in work as are rail-launchers along each wingtip for the AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile. Additionally, the aircraft can field a variety of underwing ordnance as well as external fuel tanks. Ordnance options include air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles (including the AGM-65 Maverick), unguided rocket pods, general purpose drop bombs, cluster bombs and precision-guided drop bombs.

South Korea failed to interest both Singapore and Israel in their T-50 mount. Possible sales are noted to the Botswana, Chile and the Philippines.




PROGRAM UPDATES

May 2013 - It was announced that South Korea will procure an additional 40 TA-50 strike aircraft. The added production will allow an extended lease on life for the T-50 series as a whole, ensuring production lines remain open until 2016. The T-50 is in play for the USAF T-X program, the branch's search to find its new advanced trainer.

January 2014 - The Iraqi Air Force has elected to procure the KAI T-50 as light attack fighters in a 24-strong order. Deliveries are expected to begin in April of 2016 and end by 2017. The Iraqi model in question will follow the FA-50 design and its multi-role qualities while flying under the local "T-50IQ" designation for the IAF.

November 2015 - First deliveries to the Philippines were in November of 2015, these brought to the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

February 2016 - Lockheed Martin will propose a modernized T-50A for the United States Air Force's K-X advanced trainer competition. Two T-50A aircraft will be submitted for consideration.

Thailand has ordered four T-50TH advanced trainers for delivery in 2018.

December 2015 - The T-X prototype for the USAF competition was unveiled on December 17th, 2015. An aerial refueling capability has been added (which has resulted in a dorsal "hump") as has a large-area display in the cockpit (replacing the original five-screen arrangement). Initial testing is set to begin in 2016 with flight testing to start sometime in 2017.

July 2017 - The government of Thailand has announced a follow-up order for eight additional KAI T-50 aircraft.

April 2018 - Thailand has received its first of four T-50TH model advanced jet trainers for its Royal Thai Air Force.
MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating (BETA)
40
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1000mph
Lo: 500mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (990mph).

    Graph average of 750 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
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  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
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  NYC
Graph showcases the KAI T-50 / TA-50 Golden Eagle's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
218
218

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.