South Korea Ramps Up FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft Production After Export Success In Poland, Thailand And Malaysia

South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) plans to increase its manufacturing capacity for the FA-50 Fighting Eagle by building two additional production lines in 2024.

According to local media reports, the move seeks to meet the apparent high demand for light combat aircraft.

Multiple new customers are reportedly considering the Fighting Eagles due to their competitive price and fast delivery timelines.

KAI’s production facility is currently assembling FA-50s for Poland and Thailand, and the sixth KF-21 Boramae prototype.

Export successes

KAI’s move is a company strategy to boost sales in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and even the United States.

After recent success in Poland, Thailand, and Malaysia, it is reportedly eyeing the US as its next major customer.

The South Korean firm hopes to secure a large contract from the US Air Force and the US Navy for 500 FA-50 Fighting Eagles.

The air force had previously selected Boeing and Saab’s T-7A Red Hawk. However, KAI remains optimistic that it will receive the contract since the project has been experiencing continued delays and cost overruns.

The US Navy has also issued a request for information for the T-45 Goshawk replacement program, which places great emphasis on the delivery timeline.

The FA-50 Fighting Eagle

Initially developed for the Republic of Korea Air Force, the FA-50 Fighting Eagle has a tandem glass cockpit that can carry two crew members.

It is a light combat version of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer.

The FA-50 features an inertial navigation system, an integrated mission computer, and an identification friend or foe system.

South Korea’s Fighting Eagle has AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground tactical missiles.

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