KAI’s T-50A fielded in this week’s first contest for U.S. Air Force T-X jet program

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiry South Korea’s major aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) and its partner U.

S.-based Lockheed Martin last month competed against each other for the first time, vying for a multi-billiondollar and multi-year U.S. Air Force project T-X program to replace an aging fleet of jet trainers, with orders of up to 1,000 aircraft expected, given the life cycle of jets.

The KAI-Lockheed Martin team is pitted against defense majors Boeing – Sweden’s Saab consortium, Northrop Grumman linked up with Britain’s BAE Systems, and Raytheon in venture with Italia’s Alenia Aermacchi.

201612mm_page_77_03KAI fields homogenous T-50A, a renovated version of the T-50 Golden Eagle used by the Korean air force. The players test out their trainers before the U.S. Defense Department recently. The awarding takes place in November 2017.

T-50A is already in service and exported to many countries. Its partner Lockheed Martin supplied the U.S.

Air Force’s main fighters F-22 and F-35. The Boeing and Saab’s prototype is said to be most powerful equipped with an engine that produces as much as 22,000 pounds of thrust, followed by KAI and Lockheed Martin’s T-50A with 17,700 pounds thrust, Raytheon with 12,560 pounds and Northrop with 11,000 pounds.

The other teams have designed their jets customized for the next-generation replacement, while KAI renovated existing trainer.

201612mm_page_77_05 The prototype by Northrop and Raytheon excels in weight. Northrop has made the jet 22 percent lighter although it is bigger than T-50A. Raytheon’s aircraft is the smallest and lightest and boasts twin-engine for greater flight stability. Performance-wise, the horserace is expected to be two-way between KAI-Lockheed and Boeing-Saab teams, according to Konkuk University professor Lee Jae-woo.

The initial batch of 350 aircraft to replace the T-38 Talon jets in service since the 1960s is worth $15 billion, but given the domino effect, the total pipeline value could go near $90 billion.

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