FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft

The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle is a family of South Korean supersonic advanced jet trainers and light combat aircraft, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with Lockheed Martin. The T-50 is South Korea's first indigenous supersonic aircraft and one of the world's few supersonic trainers. Development began in the late 1990s, and its maiden flight occurred in 2002. The aircraft entered active service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in 2005.

The T-50 has been further developed into aerobatic and combat variants, namely T-50B, TA-50, and FA-50. The F-50 single-seat multirole fighter variant was considered. The T-50B serves with the South Korean air force's aerobatics team. The TA-50 light attack variant has been ordered by Indonesia. The Philippines ordered 12 units of the FA-50 light fighter variant. The T-50A was marketed as a candidate for the United States Air Force's next-generation T-X trainer program but failed to win. Thailand ordered 12 units of the T-50 advanced trainer variant.





The T-50 Golden Eagle design is largely derived from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and they have some similarities. KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for T-50 development.



The T-50's central processing unit and its operating system are developed by MDS Technology. The T-50's NEOS avionics operating system is the first and only real-time operating system to be developed by an Asian company and holds both DO-178B and IEEE POSIX certification. Samsung Thales and LIG Nex1 are the main avionics and Electronic warfare equipment developers for T-50 and its variants. Other South Korean companies and defense institutes such as DoDAAM Systems, Aeromaster, Intellics, and Korea Institute of Defense Analysis are responsible for the aircraft's secondary avionics and embedded systems, including store management computers, avionics testing equipment, flight data recorders, portable maintenance aids, data analysis software,post-flight data processing system, aircraft structure, and engine management software, and mission planning and support systems. The TA-50 version is equipped with an ELTA EL/M-2032 fire control radar.

The T-50 is equipped with a Honeywell H-764G embedded global positioning/inertial navigation system and HG9550 radar altimeter. The aircraft is the first trainer to feature triple-redundant digital fly-by-wire controls. The cockpit panels, switches, and joysticks are produced by South Korea's FirsTec and Sungjin Techwin, head-up display by DoDaaM Systems, and multi-function display by Samsung Thales. Other South Korean subcontractors such as Elemech, Dawin Friction, and Withus cooperate in T-50 components production. Hanwha supplies the mechanical parts for the flight control system, and WIA supplies the undercarriage.


Key Points

Key Points




  •   M 1.5

  • 26,929 lbs

  •  17,700 lbs

  •   20mm Three-Barreled Gun AIM-9, JDAM 

  •  2





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