Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin signed an agreement to cooperate on the sale of KAI T-50 series of jet aircraft.
The two companies will attempt to market an improved version of the FA-50 light attack aircraft, based on the T-50 trainer, to the US Air Force and Navy.
The companies expect to sell more than 1,000 aircraft worldwide “by raising the level of cooperation to a strategic relationship”, KAI announced in a recent press release. Half of the aircraft are expected to be sold in the US.
Lockheed Martin has been an active participant in the development of the T-50 since the beginning in 1992, went onto fund 13% of the program.
The company also offered the aircraft for the T-X program, an initiative to procure the next advanced jet trainer for the US Air Force. However, it was not selected, with the USAF opting for Boeing T-7 Red Hawk instead.
The latest press release states that in 2024-2025 KAI and Lockheed Martin are aiming to offer the T-50 in USAF Advanced Tactical Trainer and US Navy Tactical Surrogate Aircraft programs, which are slated to procure 280 and 220 new aircraft respectively.
Several other countries, including Slovakia, Malaysia and Croatia, are evaluating or planning to buy the T-50. Various modifications of the aircraft are currently being operated by South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Iraq, Thailand and Colombia.