KAI unveils first FA-50GF light combat aircraft for Poland

KAI FA50 Poland order delivery
KAI FA-50GF "Gap Filler" light combat aircraft for Poland.

South Korean aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) recently unveiled the first FA-50 light combat aircraft for Poland. Poland signed a contract last year to purchase 48 FA-50s to equip three squadrons, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered by next summer. KAI's ability to deliver the aircraft quickly was decisive in winning this large order. Warsaw urgently needs to introduce new fighters following the war in Ukraine and the growing need to replace the Polish Air Force's aging MiG-29 and Su-22 jets. The first batch of FA-50GF will be withdrawn from ROKAF production.

The first twelve aircraft were designated FA-50GF (Gap Filler) and are essentially Block 10 standard with AAQ-33 Sniper aiming pod capability. They have NATO compatible IFF and are equipped with Link 16 datalink. Armament options include AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles (ASMs). Delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for August, while the remaining 10 will be delivered by 2025.

The first group of Polish pilots arrived in South Korea in late February to begin a 23-week training course with the ROKAF's 1st Fighter Wing at Gwangju, where they will fly the T-50 Golden Eagle and TA-50, before conversion to the FA-50 fighter derivative. A second group of pilots is to follow shortly.

KAI FA50 Poland order delivery

The order for the FA-50 light attack aircraft worth approximately $2.5 billion was signed on July 28, 2022 for a total of 48 aircraft, 12 FA-50GP Block 10 and 36 FA-50PL Block 20.

The 36 FA-50PL variant jets will be delivered to Poland between November 2025 and September 2028. The FA-50PL is derived from the Block 20 variant and will introduce a number of new features including a compliant fuel tank, a retractable refueling probe, a APG-83 AESA radar and the ability to carry a much wider range of weapons, including beyond-visual-range AAMs and medium-range ASMs. The FA-50GFs are expected to be upgraded to this standard in due course.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: KAI

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