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A-50 / FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft

The FA-50 is a new version of light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The development of the FA-50 began in 1997 and since then six new prototypes were built. The planes have an advanced radar system equipped witha night vision imaging system. The FA-50 is armed with 20mm cannon and air-to-air missiles.

The A-50 is the Light Combat Aircraft variant of T-50. Integrating advanced tactical radar with conventional and precision guided munitions, A-50 is designed to perform multi-role, air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Its air-to-air capability employs advanced digital avionics for close and aerial combat using gunnery algorithms for pin point accuracy. The aircraft is also designed to operate with multiple short range and within visual range missiles. The A-50 performs its air-to-ground mission with equally effective results. The aircraft can deliver free fall munitions with superb accuracy using advanced ranging navigation systems. It can also destroy high value targets using precision munitions such as the AGM-65 Maverick.

The A-50, a T-50 derivative, comes with the most advanced radar and stores management systems and is capable of light air-to-air and air-to-surface engagement. The A-50 possesses all the features of a modern light-combat aircraft: integrated cockpit for tactical information fusion; digital flight control for precise aircraft handling; high-performance engine and aerodynamic design for maneuverability; and advanced weaponry for lethality.

A variant of T-50 is the Fighter Lead-in aircraft version, TA-50. Integrating advanced tactical radar with conventional and precision guided munitions, TA-50 is designed to perform multi-role, air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Its air-to-air capability employs advanced digital avionics for close and aerial combat using gunnery algorithms for pin point accuracy. The aircraft is also designed to operate with multiple short range and within visual range missiles. TA-50 performs its air-to-ground mission with equally effective results. The aircraft can deliver free fall munitions with superb accuracy using advanced range navigation systems. It can also destroy high value targets using precision munitions such as the AGM-65 Maverick.

The FA-50, based on the TA-50, will be developed for substitution of ROKAF's A-37, F-5 E/F with enhanced survivabilities(RWR, CMDS) and additional mission capabilities(Precision Bombing, Tactical Datalink).

In 2007 South Korea decided to extend its development of the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer to include variants dedicated to electronic attack and reconnaissance duties. The new variants, dubbed the EA-50 and RA-50, are to be developed from the South Korean air force's future FA-50 light attack development of the T-50 and TA-50.

In late December 2008 the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) signed a contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to develop a light attack jet by 2012, officials said Tuesday. The deal on systems integration and research-and-development is worth about 400 billion won ($317 million). Initially, KAI will modify and upgrade the four prototypes of the T-50 Golden Eagle trainer to advanced light attack aircraft designated FA-50.

The FA-50 will be equipped with the EL/M-2032 radar from Israel's Elta Systems. DAPA originally wanted to equip the FA-50 with the lightweight Vixen-500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar developed by UK firm Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems. Lockheed had been pushing Seoul to select its own AN/APG-67(V)4 radar. Under the agreement with then-General Dynamics signed in the 1990s, the FA-50's combat capability had to remain below that of the F-16, to avoid competition.

DAPA intended to buy about 60 FA-50s to start service in 2013, the same year mass production for export will begin. Once mass production starts by 2013, FA-50 fighters will replace A-37 attack jets and F-4/F-5 fighters in the low-tier backup to the Air Force's high-end KF-16s and F-15Ks, and fifth-generation aircraft to be procured in the future. The Air Force wanted to introduce up to 150 FA-50s to replace its older fighters. As of late 2011 50 T-50s and 10 T-50Bs have been delivered to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), and KAI was starting to deliver the T/A-50 variant to ROKAF.

April 2011 marked a milestone in the history of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), when Jakarta named KAI as the preferred bidder for its advanced jet trainer competition. This paved the way for a $400 million order for 16 T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft, securing the first overseas customer for the indigenous type.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye praised the deployment of South Korea's FA-50 aircraft on 30 October 2014, while ordering the country's military to remain at full readiness. "Now, our security situation is very grave", Park said in a ceremony, marking the deployment of the fighter jets. Park said the deployment of the FA-50 aircrafts marked "a historic day". South Korea deployed 20 fighter jets in September 2014 and there were plans to deploy another 40 new planes in future.






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