Silhouettes of eight T-50 jets up in the air, flying in formation

The T-50 Golden Eagle is an advanced supersonic jet trainer developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin to train fighter pilots on 5th-generation fighter platforms, such as the F-35. The first T-50 flew with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in 2005, and since 2011 it has been used to train pilots in Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines, and Thailand.

T-50 History and Development

Development of the T-50 began in the mid-1990s, with test flights beginning in 2002. As the first homegrown Korean trainer aircraft, the program was primarily financed by the Korean government, with KAI and Lockheed evenly splitting about 30% of the cost. The T-50 is produced by Lockheed through international partnerships with KAI.

The T-50, which has a maximum speed of Mach 1.5, is powered by a General Electric F404 turbofan and afterburner. The engine is manufactured by Samsung Hanwha Techwin in Korea and produces 17,700 lb of thrust. The trainer has a 360°-view and glass cockpit that seats two and features an advanced human-machine interface suitable for learning the flight operations of 5th-generation fighter aircraft.

Use of the T-50 and Its Variants

With the success of the T-50, several variants have been subsequently developed. Each variant can be used in a training capacity to provide the skills fighter pilots need to operate the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.

The TA-50 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) was developed for advanced ROKAF pilot training, providing tactics training, including battlefield, air-to-air, and air-to-ground operations. With its advanced avionics and digital flight control system, the TA-50 acquaints pilots with the more advanced systems they will be using in 5th generation fighters. Additionally, pilots can train on armaments and precision-guided weapons systems using the TA-50.

The FA-50 Light Combat Fighter provides a direct transition from training on the T-50 to operating a supersonic combat aircraft. The FA-50 has been flown by the ROKAF since 2013 and features upgraded tactical and protection systems. The integrated combat systems onboard the FA-50 provides multi-role combat capabilities.

The T-50B is an acrobatic demonstrator variant of the T-50 flown by the ROKAF Black Eagles. This aircraft demonstrates to the public the superb handling and flight characteristics of the T-50. Onboard cameras, recording devices, and advanced avionics and control systems are used in conjunction with smoke generators to provide aerial acrobatic demonstrations at air shows worldwide.

Since 2011, KAI and Lockheed have produced and sold T-50 Golden Eagles to air forces worldwide. The Indonesian, Iraqi, Filipino, and Thai air forces have integrated this supersonic combat trainer, providing their respective pilots with training for 5th-generation fighter aircraft.

The T-50 and its variants are produced by Lockheed Martin, and over 200 aircraft have been shipped with additional orders placed. Lockheed expects to produce up to 1,000 aircraft over the lifetime of the T-50 program and anticipates sustainment and upgrade programs to enhance and extend the lifetime of the Golden Eagle and its variants.

T-50 Sustainment and Repairs

AllClear has been recognized as a leading T-50 sustainment solution source. OEM partnerships with T-50 suppliers, including Honeywell, Collins Aerospace, Eaton, and Aerosonic, allow us to support all major T-50 systems.

In addition to distributing parts, AllClear coordinates with a global network of MRO partners to provide our T-50 Golden Eagle customers with repair management services.

Regarding MRO for the T-50 Golden Eagle and its variants, our customers rely on AllClear to provide them with the parts and necessary expertise. If you are looking for a partner to keep your T-50 fleet operational, contact AllClear to see how we can help.