Lockheed Martin completed the initial flight test of its T-50A configured aircraft last week in South Korea, according to a company press release. The T-50A is the upgraded version of the T-50 developed some years ago in cooperation with Korea Aerospace Industries, and is the company’s aircraft offering in the U.S. Air Force’s T-X Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition.
“The aircraft in its new configuration with the 5th Gen cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly,” said Mark Ward, Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot, after his flight in Sacheon, South Korea. “I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and 5th generation fighters.”
Lockheed Martin says the T-50A is the only offering that meets all APT requirements, and can deliver the required capabilities at the lowest risk to the Air Force due to employing the low-risk T-50 as its basis.
The T-50A is based on proven T-50 “Golden Eagle” variants flown by the Republic of Korea armed forces. More than 100 T-50s are flying today, with more than 100,000 flight hours accumulated and 1,000 pilots trained.
The T-50A configuration is based on South Korea’s FA-50, according to Lockheed Martin. The FA-50, currently in production, is the most advanced version of the T-50, incorporating air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, avionics that include an electronic warfare suite, a multi-mode radar, and an advanced data-link.
Lockheed Martin says the T-50A is the only offering that meets all APT requirements, and can deliver the required capabilities at the lowest risk to the Air Force due to employing the low-risk T-50 as its basis. The T-50A features digital fly-by-wire flight controls, with NextGen air traffic management systems, and an anthropometrically designed 5th Generation cockpit, as well as flight-refueling capability.
The company is standing up a T-50A Final Assembly and Checkout site in Greenville, South Carolina.