KAI, Lockheed Martin team up to boost advanced trainer jet sales in US

KAI Lockheed aircraft sales US
KAI-Lockheed Martin T-50A advanced trainer jet.

Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, said Sunday it has signed an agreement with US defense firm Lockheed Martin to increase sales of its advanced trainer jets in the United States.

Under the "Teaming Agreement" signed on Thursday, the two companies will establish a steering committee to jointly design, manufacture and promote an improved model of the KAI FA-50 light fighter aircraft to aim to win new US military contracts.

The US Air Force and the US Navy plan to introduce a total of approximately 500 new light fighter jets between 2024 and 2025.

The FA-50 is a light attack variant of the T-50 advanced trainer jet that KAI developed together with Lockheed Martin. It can be equipped with precision-guided weapons as joint direct attack munitions and smart fragment weapons, according to KAI. The South Korean Air Force has been operating the type since 2013.

Lockheed Martin has also agreed to partner with KAI to sell trainer jets to unspecified countries in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Oceania region, a KAI spokesperson said.

As far as we know, the countries targeted are the UK, Poland, Slovakia, Egypt and the Philippines.

KAI is stepping up efforts to increase cross-border sales of its aircraft. The company's promotional campaign also includes a European tour by the RoKAF Black Eagles aerobatic team next summer. The team is equipped with eight T-50B advanced trainer jets.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Lockheed Martin

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