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KAI's T-50 Begins External Stores Flight Testing

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 24th, 2004 -- Flight testing with external stores began recently for the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer.

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is the prime contractor for the T-50 Full Scale Development (FSD) program, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] is the principal subcontractor for FSD, and the Republic of Korea Air Force is conducting the flight testing. Flight testing is being conducted from Sacheon Air Base, South Korea.

Flight testing with captive AIM-9 air-to-air missiles was initiated on Nov. 3, 2003, and the first flight with external fuel tanks occurred on Feb. 7. Initial flights are to verify the T-50 aircraft's stability and control, flutter and handling qualities. Later flights will verify its performance, store functionality and interfaces, and store separation.

The 150-U.S. gallon fuel tanks are built by Sargent Fletcher of El Monte, Calif., and provide extended mission duration and range. The tanks can be carried on the centerline station and the inner under-wing stations in a one-, two- or three-tank configuration. A single tank extends mission duration/range about 15-20 percent, and the three-tank configuration extends the duration/range about 40 percent.

The tanks can be jettisoned and can be carried on both the T-50 Advanced Jet Trainer and the Lead-In Fighter Trainer versions.

Approximately 280 sorties utilizing all four of the T-50 flight test aircraft are planned for external stores testing with external fuel tanks installed.

Air-to-ground weapons testing will begin soon. External stores flight testing will continue until the end of Full-Scale Development.


The T-50 is the only supersonic trainer in development or production. It has the performance, handling qualities, cockpit and advanced systems necessary to train pilots to fly both today's advanced fighters and the next-generation of combat aircraft.

The T-50 Golden Eagle is being developed by KAI for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). Lockheed Martin, as principal subcontractor to KAI, is providing technical expertise for the FSD program and is responsible for developing the T-50 avionics system, flight control system and wings. The program entered the transition-to-production phase with initial contract from the ROKAF awarded to KAI in December 2003. The first KAI production aircraft is expected to be delivered in late 2005.

Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. is the Republic of Korea's national aerospace company, established in 1999 with the consolidation of Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Co. KAI lines of business include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter aircraft and satellites. Its major products are the KF-16, KT-1 basic trainer, T-50, SB427 helicopters, UAVs, aerostructures and KOMPSAT satellite program.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin, is a leader in the design, research and development, systems integration, production and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F/A-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, C-5, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3 and U-2. The company produces major components for the F-2 fighter, and is a co-developer of the C-27J tactical transport and T-50 advanced jet trainer.

T-50 taking off with wingtip AIM-9 missiles and a fuselage-mounted 150-gallon fuel tank.

Joe Stout

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