T-50 Golden Eagle / A-50
The T-50 Golden Eagle is a supersonic advanced jet trainer being developed by KAI for the ROKAF. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the principal subcontractor to KAI, is providing technical expertise in all aspects of the program and is responsible for developing the T-50 avionics system, flight control system and wings. The two companies are cooperatively marketing the T-50 internationally.
The unit price of T-50 is around 25 billion won (US$22 million).
Two pilots were killed 28 August 2013 when a South Korean air force jet trainer crashed near the southwestern city of Gwangju. It was the second crash in less than a year involving a T-50. A T-50B aircraft crashed into a mountain in the northeast in November 2012, killing a pilot. And two Indonesian pilots of a T-50 supersonic trainer jet were killed during an airshow in December 2015.
The T-50 has the maneuverability, endurance and advanced systems to prepare future pilots to fly current and next-generation fighters like advanced F-16s, the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter. These same characteristics give it an excellent capability as a lead-in fighter trainer and potential light-combat aircraft in many air forces.
There is a very real problem emerging in the fighter community today. The aircraft currently used to train fighter pilots started production in the 1950s and 1960s and are approaching the limit of their service life. Age and attrition as well as widening gaps between past and current technologies are creating concern in many fighter communities around the world.
Because 4th generation fighters today are more complex and capable than ever before, fighter pilots must properly trained to operate their aircraft at the maximum envelop to fully utilize the fighter capability during combat. To address these critical issues, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has commissioned Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LM Aero) to develop and produce the T-50 for the ROKAF.
Under a partnership arrangement, KAI and LM Aero have jointly invested in the T-50, making it the only recently developed advanced supersonic trainer. The T-50 is designed as an advanced trainer for fighter pilots selected to fly world's 4th and 5th generation fighter aircraft. It is the highest efficiency training system because it provides trainee pilots rapid transition to a modern fighter environment utilizing the latest advancement in aviation technology. T-50 can also function as a Light Combat Aircraft for the defense of national borders. T-50 is the advanced jet trainer for tomorrow's fighter pilot.
Designed for high performance, the T-50 features digital fly-by-wire for precision aircraft handling, relaxed static stability to improve maneuverability, variable camber wing with strakes to maximize the lift to drag ratio and improve directional stability, and tandem seating for superior visibility, and efficient turbo-fan engine utilizing proven technology for maximum reliability and safety, and advanced nav-attack sensor for multi-role mission, and the On Board Oxygen Generating System. T-50 is the only advanced Trainer for the 4th and 5th generation fighter.
The T-50 has a maximum take off gross weight of 26,400 lbs, and empty weight is 14,200 lbs. The engine provides 17,700 lbs of thrust giving the aircraft the maximum speed of 1.4 mach. The aircraft load factor is ranged between -3 and +8 g. The T-50 service ceiling is 48,000 fts and airframe has a structural life over 8,000 hrs. The T-50 is powered by GE-F404 engine. A high performance engine combining the latest technology and engine reliability and safety. It features full authority digital engine control: rapid throttle response without throttle restrictions and automatic engine monitoring with excellent stall free operation and no visible smoke.
The T-50 advanced cockpit features the bubble canopy and tandem seating for superior outer vision. It has a Head-Up Display with excellent field of view for displaying flight information. Two large 5" color multi-function displays for displaying mission and aircraft data as well as weapon selection and control for the light combat aircraft variant. Digital instrumentation and integrated HOTAS operation to allow head up operation.
The T-50 is the first trainer to employ electronic fly-by-wire and digital flight control for precision maneuvering. The digital flight controls are triple redundant and triplex digital flight control provides mult-mode control laws and a flight envelop limit. The actuator is direct drive with actuator reconfiguration mode.
As an advanced jet trainer, the T-50 is used to train pilots on basic cockpit operation, maneuvering and situation awareness. The T-50 is also designed as a Lead In Fighter Trainer where tactical skills and advanced flight instruction are all taught.
The T-50 is a total training system. Classroom training provides student with basic theory and operation of the aircraft and mission. The ground base training system is a computer assisted learning tool designed to transition the classroom instruction into practical flying skills. The simulator is used to emulate the aircraft cockpit and flying profile. Trainees using the simulator can transfer their flying mission back to the ground base training system for mission playback to analyze their performance. The trainees are then taken into aircraft for flight training. Basic aircraft instrument and handling are taught along with advanced tactical and new operational skills and weapon delivery.