SEOUL, June 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Korea Aerospace Industries Co., South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer, said Sunday it has signed an agreement with the U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin to boost sales of its advanced trainer jets in the United States.
Under the “Teaming Agreement” signed on Thursday (U.S. time), the two sides agreed to set up a steering committee to jointly design, produce and promote an improved model of FA-50 light combat aircraft to try to win U.S. military procurement projects.
The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy plan to introduce about 280 and 220 units of new fighter trainers, respectively, in around 2024 and 2025.
The FA-50 is a light attack variant of the T-50 trainer jet that KAI has developed with Lockheed Martin. The FA-50 can be equipped with such precision-guided weapons as joint direct attack munitions and smart fragment weapons, the KAI said.
The South Korean Air Force introduced the FA-50 aircraft in 2013.
Lockheed Martin has also agreed to cooperate with KAI in selling trainer jets in unspecified countries in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Oceania region, a KAI official said without elaborating.
KAI has also two other types of trainer jets — TA-50 lead-in fighter trainer and the T-50B, the aerobatic aircraft of the South Korean Air Force’s aerobatic flight team, the Black Eagles.