Military


KT-1 Woongbi Korean Basic Trainer

The KT-1 Woong-Bee (Great Flight) serves as a basic training aircraft for the Air Force pilots. KAI and the ADD jointly developed Korea's first indigenous aircraft exclusively using domestic technologies in a project that began in 1988. The plane was the first in its class ever to be designed entirely by a computer. It is equipped with all the systems needed to teach intricate acrobatic maneuvers as well as a computer controlled flight system. The Korean government plans to replace the aged T-37 and T-41 fleet of training planes with the KT-1.

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled the KT-1 basic trainer, codenamed ``Woongbee, at its manufacturing facility in November 2000. In addition to unveiling of the first independently-developed aircraft, KAI also held ceremonies for rolling out the KT-1 and performing various test runs of the advanced military aircraft. The successful introduction of KT-1 followed a decision in 1988 to localize technological research for aircraft and came after more than 10 years of intensive development.

The KT-1 basic trainers come with turbo-prop engines boasting 950- horsepower that generate a maximum speed of up to 648 kilometers per hour and can cover a distance of 1,700 kilometers without refueling. The aircraft, which will basically be used by the Republic of Korea Air Force, measures 10.3 meters in length, 10.6 meters in width and 3.7 meters in height.

In April 2003 the Rebulic of Korea became one of the world's few aircraft exporters by providing trainer airplanes to Indonesia. It is the first time for the country to export airplanes. The KT-1B, a modified version of the KT-1, enables air force pilots to prepare for supersonic fighter jets and can be equipped with light arms for combat. By the end of 2003, according to the KAI, it would deliver seven jets plus spare parts as well as provide Indonesian pilots and maintenance staff with flight and maintenance education under a lump-sum $60 million contract with the Indonesian Air Force. It is also negotiating the export of 13 additional KT-1Bs to Indonesia. The KAI said it could export more than 150 KT-1Bs worth some $500 million by 2012 as over 20 countries have shown keen interest in the plane.

In August 2007 the state-funded Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed a $500 million contract with Turkey to export 55 upgraded versions of the KT-1 Woongbi basic traine. The deal is the country's second largest arms export after Samsung Techwin's $1-billion license deal over the K-9 self-propelled howitzer with Turkey in 2001. KAI had sold 12 KT-1s to Indonesia, which was considering buying eight more.



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