SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s Air Force began a training program Wednesday for Polish pilots to operate the country’s FA-50 light attack aircraft, officials said, after Warsaw signed a contract last year to purchase the jet.
The program got under way at the 1st Fighter Wing in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul, following last year’s deal to supply Poland with 48 FA-50 aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd.
This year, the Air Force plans to train eight Polish pilots through a 23-week program in two stages by using the T-50 trainer jet. The FA-50 has been developed based on the trainer platform.
The first four pilots are scheduled to complete the program by July 21, while the rest will undergo the training from May 8 to Oct. 13.
In the first 11 weeks of the program, the pilots will use the South’s T-50 aircraft for education in flight theory and overall operations.
The next 11 weeks will employ the TA-50, a lead-in fighter trainer, to train pilots to gain realistic combat skills.
In the final week, the pilots will use a FA-50 simulator to wrap up their training.
“We will go back after learning all the skills to firmly defend Poland’s airspace through South Korea’s outstanding flight education system,” Maj. Jacek Stolarek of the Polish Air Force was quoted as saying by the South’s armed service.
Currently, four countries — Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Thailand — operate the T-50 series aircraft.
The Air Force has trained 47 pilots from the four countries since 2013 and continues to provide the countries with follow-up logistics support.