T-50 Golden Eagle - Sales
KAI aimed at marketing approximately 1,200 aircraft, worth 40 billion dollars, recording 36% market share of the world's advanced trainer market.
As of early 2009 Poland hoped to acquire 16 lead-in fighter trainers for delivery from the third quarter of 2010, with the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 and Patria-modified BAE Systems Hawk 51 designs in contention. By February 2009 Polish air force pilots had successfully test-flown South Korea's T-50 supersonic trainer jets as the European nation considers the T-50 as a frontrunner for its program to acquire lead-in fighter trainers. The Polish Air Force wanted to buy one full squadron of jets for delivery from the third quarter of 2010. The T-50 was competing with Italy's Aermacchi M-346 for tenders in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, while Israel, Greece and the United States had shown interest in the aircraft.
In February 2009 the United Arab Emirates (UAE) selected Italy's Aermacchi M-346 over the T-50 supersonic trainer built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin of the U.S. as the preferred bidder to supply the UAE Air Force with 48 aircraft and training equipment. President Lee Myung-bak put much emphasis on economic feasibility and practicality. He was negative about the KAH program in that context. former President Roh Moo-hyun who focused on building a "self-reliant" defense posture.
The T-50A was the Lockheed Martin aircraft offering in the U.S. Air Force’s T-X Advanced Pilot Training competition. The T-50A is low risk and ready now. It builds on the proven heritage of the T-50 with more than 100 T-50s flying today — 100,000 flight hours and counting — and more than 1,000 pilots trained. The T-50A is the only offering that meets all APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule at the lowest risk to the customer. Lockheed Martin teams studied clean-sheet alternatives and determined they pose prohibitive risk to APT cost and schedule requirements. The T-50A delivers the performance and capabilities needed to prepare pilots to fly, fight and win with 5th Generation fighter aircraft.
On June 2, 2016 Lockheed Martin successfully completed the initial flight test of its T-50A configured aircraft. “The aircraft in its new configuration with the 5th Gen cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly,” said Mark Ward, Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot, after his flight in Sacheon, South Korea. “I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and 5th Generation fighters.”
At that time Lockheed Martin was standing up its T-50A Final Assembly and Checkout site in Greenville, South Carolina. The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries. The accompanying T-50A Ground-Based Training System features innovative technologies that deliver an immersive, synchronized ground-based training platform.
The Korea Aerospace Industries / Lockheed Martin consortium offered the T-50A supersonic trainer jet to replace the aging fleet of T-38 Talon aircraft as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training, or APT, program. But with Boeing-Saab partnership’s aggressive low price to produce the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation training jet, the T-X contract awarded to the Boeing-Saab team is worth $9.2 billion, about $7 billion less than the originally estimated budget. The partnership beat out both Leonardo DRS and a Lockheed Martin-KAI partnership. The aerospace firm anticipated that, should 350 T-50As be sold to the US with a price tag of some $16 billion, it could capture an advantageous position in the global trainer aircraft market, valued at about $90 billion.
South Korean aircraft manufacturer KAI said 23 March 2020 that the US Air Force was planning to lease a small number of T-50A trainer jets until new trainer jets arrive from Boeing, the winner of the T-X trainer contest. The US Air Combat Command (ACC) plans to contract Hillwood Aviation to provide four to eight of KAI’s T-50A Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer aircraft to help its aviators develop relevant tactical skills before they begin their formal training with the Boeing T-7A Red Hawk. Though Lockheed Martin and KAI lost the competition in 2018 to a consortium comprising Boeing and Saab, the lease of four to eight T-50A trainer jets is being reviewed as they are already operational and being exported. These aircraft will be designated F/T-7X, in line with the T-7A designation recently given to the Boeing-Saab Redhawk that was selected to satisfy the USAF’s wider T-X Advanced Pilot Training (APT) requirement.
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