T-50 Jet Trainer Completes Historic First Flight in Milestone for Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin
FORT WORTH, TX, August 20th, 2002 -- The T-50 Golden Eagle successfully completed its historic first flight at the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) facility at Sachon, South Korea, on August 20. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] is a major participant in the T-50 program. The T-50 advanced supersonic trainer will have the maneuverability, endurance and modern systems to prepare future pilots to fly current and next-generation fighters such as the F-16, F-15, F-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. These same characteristics give it an excellent capability as a lead-in fighter trainer and potential light-combat aircraft derivative in many air forces.
"This is a great day for the T-50 program, the T-50 team and the nation," said Kil, Hyoung-Bo, president of KAI. "I congratulate the entire team, including the Republic of Korea Air Force, KAI, the rest of the Korean aerospace industry, Lockheed Martin and our international industry partners. Working in close cooperation, we made this important first flight on schedule. The T-50 is a critical program in Korea's national goal of developing a world-class aerospace industry."
Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., said, "I congratulate KAI on its outstanding technical expertise and dedicated management in keeping the program right on track through the numerous milestones leading up to this day. This event is the culmination of a tremendous amount of team and individual effort both in Korea and the United States. Lockheed Martin is proud to have supported the endeavor that helped make Korea's vision of an indigenously developed, advanced supersonic trainer a reality."
The first flight met its goals of checking air worthiness, basic systems operation and handling qualities of the aircraft, plus the test instrumentation and telemetry. All systems functioned properly, with no anomalies.
"This was a very enjoyable flight," said Lt.Col. Cho, Gwang-Je, Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) test pilot for the historic flight. "The T-50 is very easy to fly. It has excellent stability and control in the takeoff and landing configuration, just as we expected. We completed all of our test objectives for this flight exactly as on the mission plan. I am looking forward to future flights as we expand the flight envelope. If future flights are as successful as this one, we should have a great advanced jet trainer."
Takeoff and landing were conducted at an airfield adjacent to the KAI plant at Sachon. The first flight lasted 39 minutes. The flight consisted of a military power (full power without afterburner) takeoff and climb to 7,000 feet for preliminary tests and then to 15,000 feet, the maximum altitude for this flight. The landing gear remained down for the entire flight, as planned, and a variety of maneuvers and engine transients were conducted. The maximum speed was 245 knots (calibrated air speed), or about 305 knots (true air speed). Maximum angle of attack was 13 degrees. Formation flying was practiced on the wing of the F-16 chase aircraft.
The next several flight tests will complete the airworthiness evaluations and then begin the T-50 envelope expansion flight testing.
"I congratulate the entire government/industry team that has participated in the T-50 program," said Major General Lee, Jin-Hak, Commander of Aerospace Projects Group of ROKAF. "We are rapidly gaining more confidence in the T-50 and its ability to satisfy the ROKAF requirements for an advanced jet trainer and lead-in fighter trainer. We are looking forward to introducing this aircraft into our inventory in the not-to-distant future."
The T-50 Golden Eagle is a supersonic advanced jet trainer being developed by KAI for the ROKAF. Lockheed Martin, as principal subcontractor to KAI, is providing technical expertise in all aspects of the program and is responsible for developing the T-50 avionics system, flight control system and wings. The two companies are cooperatively marketing the T-50 internationally.
The T-50 Full-Scale Development program began in 1997 and will continue through 2005. Initial production authorization is planned for the third quarter of 2003 with production deliveries to begin in 2005.
The T-50 will have the maneuverability, endurance and advanced systems to prepare future pilots to fly current and next-generation fighters like advanced F-16s, the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter. These same characteristics give it an excellent capability as a lead-in fighter trainer and potential light-combat aircraft derivative in many air forces.
Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. is the Republic of Korea's national aerospace company established in 1999 with the consolidation of Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Company. KAI lines of business include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter aircraft, and satellites. Its major products are the KF-16, KT-1 basic trainer, T-50, SB427 helicopters, aerostructures and KOMPSAT satellite program.