South Korean President Park Geun-hye leads the deployment ceremony of 20 FA-50 aircraft for South Korean Air Force. Park stated that the development of FA-50 starts South Korea’s development of more capable fighter jets.
The South Korean government plans to deploy 40 more FA-50s in the coming years to replace South Korean Air Force’s US-designed F-5Es and F-5Fs.
FA-50 is a lead-in fighter training and light attack jet. It is the most advance version of TA-50. The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.5. It has a length of 13.14m, 9.45m width and 4.82m height. It has a dry weight of 6.5 tons and can take-off with total weight of 12 tons.
It is equipped with Multimode Airborne Fire Control Radar system designed to accomplish air-to-air and airstrike missions. It can be fitted with AIM-9 Sidewinder, a short-range air-to-air missile; AGM-65, an air-to-surface missile designed for close-air support missions; cluster bombs and rocket launchers.
FA-50 can load up to 4.5 tons of weapons and has a wide-range of armament system. It has a 20 mm three-barrel gun that can fire at extremely high rate internally installed.
While South Korea just officially deployed its FA-50s, Philippines is waiting for 12 FA-50s for its Air Force. Philippine National Defense said the delivery of first two FA-50s from South Korea’s Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) will be on September 2015, to be completed until 2017.