T-50 GOLDEN EAGLE SOARS IN FIRST TRAINING FLIGHT
SACHEON, South Korea, 26-APR-07 -- Korean air force student pilots began flight training in the T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft for the first time April 17. Twelve officers took part in the training flights, receiving instruction in various maneuvers for about an hour.
The T-50, co-developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], is Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft and the world’s only high performance, supersonic trainer in production today. The T-50 is exceeding the expectations of operational pilots with its technological advances and capabilities.
One of the students, 1st Lt. Joong-Bum Bae, said, “I had some butterflies in my stomach because it was my first flight, but I quickly gained confidence due to the T-50’s excellent performance and systems.”
Lt. Col. Bo-Hyun Kim, commander of the 203rd Flight Training Squadron at Gwang-ju Air Base, said, “Based on today’s first flight, we will educate and train second-to-none pilots through enhancing training effectiveness. The aircraft is much better than expected and we are predicting major changes in the service’s flight training concept and system.”
Currently, 13 T-50s are operational at Gwang-ju, and two squadrons will be equipped with 30-40 T-50s at the base by next year. Development of the T-50 began in 1997, and the rollout of the first production T-50 took place in August 2005.
With the T-50 advanced jet trainer, student pilots will progress from primary trainers to high performance, modern operational fighters in a very cost effective manner, providing an ideal solution for the training needs of air forces around the world.
KAI is the prime contractor for the T-50 and Lockheed Martin is the principal subcontractor assisting with development and international marketing.
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 Co. 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 helicopter, UAVs, aerostructures and KOMPSAT satellite program.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.