USAF looks to rent KAI T-50 trainer jet to prepare for Boeing T-7A

USAF rent KAI T50
USAF looks to rent KAI T-50A trainer jet to prepare for Boeing T-7A.

The U.S. Air Force is looking to lease a small number of KAI T-50 advanced trainer jets pending the entry into service of the new Boeing T-7A Red Hawk. US Air Combat Command (ACC) plans to contract Hillwood Aviation to provide four to eight T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft to accelerate the pace of training for fighter pilots who will fly fourth and fifth generation fighters. It will help the USAF set up the new training syllabus that plans to move some of the work done by front-line fighters to the Red Hawk.

The plan calls for Hillwood Aviation to purchase 4 to 8 T-50 trainer jets from KAI and then lease them to the USAF. The jets will provide approximately 3,000 sorties (4,500 flight hours) per year for four years and 364 days, according to Air Combat Command.

“Though 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,” KAI said.

The official announcement of the deal was supposed to come in October 2020, but was delayed due to the US plan review. The nation is currently forced to allocate a large part of the budget to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Probably the choice of the T-50 was favored by the industrial involvement of the American giant Lockheed Martin in the KAI project. It was a single source deal that did not take into consideration the other contender of the T-X program, the Italian-made M-346.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Lockheed Martin

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