RoKAF designation: (LIFT version) A-50

TYPE: Advanced jet trainer/light attack jet.

PROGRAMME: Begun by Samsung Aerospace (SSA) in 1992 under designation KTX-2 (Korean Trainer, Experimental); initial design assistance by Lockheed Martin as offset in F-16 Korean Fighter Programme; early design featured shoulder-mounted wings and twin tail unit; revised later to present configuration; basic configuration established mid-1995; full-scale development originally planned to begin in 1997, subject to finding risk-sharing partner; government go-ahead given on 3 July 1997; Samsung/Lockheed martin agreement September 1997 to continue joint development until 2005; Lockheed Martin Aeronautics at Fort Worth responsible for wings, flight control system and avionics; development phase funded 70 per cent by South Korean government, 17 per cent by Samsung/KAI and 13 per cent by Lockheed Martin.
FSD contract, signed 24 October 1997, called for two static/fatigue test airframes and four flying prototypes (two T-50 and two A-50). Work split 55 per cent in USA, 44 per cent in South Korea and 1 per cent elsewhere. Preliminary design review (PDR) completed 12 to 16 July 1999; wind tunnel testing completed (4,800 hours) and aerodynamic design frozen November 1999. Critical design review (CDR) passed in August 2000. KTX-2 redesignated T-50 and A-50 in early 2000. T-50 International (TFI) established September 2000 (following July MoU) by KAI and LM Aero to market aircraft outside South Korea.
First prototype entered final assembly January 2001 and rolled out 31 October 2001; first flights 20 August (001) and 8 November 2002 (002). Static testing began 2 January 2002 and completed August 2003; fatigue tests began 22 July 2002 and continue to June 2004. First supersonic flight (M1.05 at 12,200 m; 40,000 ft) 18 February 2003 on 60th sortie; 100th test flight 28 April 2003, on which date M1.2 achieved. Development flight testing (105 flights) and initial integrated logistics assessment completed by first two prototypes by mid-2003; RoKAF initial operational assessment with these two aircraft completed in 26 sorties between 28 July and 14 August 2003. Follow-on operational assessment (approximately 64 flights) to continue until 2005. Third and fourth (lead-in fighter trainer) prototypes first flown on 29 August and 4 September 2003; ground-firing tests of gun started late October 2003; flight test of APG-67 radar began December 2003 (programme of approx 80 flights, ending in mid-2004). Order for first 25 production T-50s placed 19 December 2003. Deliveries to RoKAF planned to begin in October 2005. Remaining 69 expected to be ordered in 2006 and delivered from 2008.
In late 2003, T-50U variant (see below) offered to UAE; and Israli MoD agreement to evaluate T-50 LIFT as potential TA-4 Skyhawk replacement.
Preliminary studies under way for possible 'F-50' fighter derivative, to enter development stage in about 2008 and targeted as Northrop F-5 replacement.

CURRENT VERSIONS (planned): T-50: Advanced trainer; no internal gun or radar.
T-50 LIFT: Lead-in fighter trainer and light combat version with radar and internal gun. RoKAF designation A-50.
T-50U: Variant of T-50 LIFT proposed to United Arab Emirates in late 2003. Cockpits modified to include third, larger, MFD for commonality with UAE Air Force F-16s; HUD symbology similar to UAEAF Mirage 2000-9s; Thales TBA-6030 datalink; Terma EW suite controller; and customised mission simulation modes.

CUSTOMERS: Initial RoKAF requirement for 94 (50 T-50s and 44 A-50s), with options for up to 100 more, including further A-50s. Initially to replace RoKAF T-38s and F-5Bs; aimed also at F-5 replacement market. Exports (from 2006) estimated potentially at 600 to 800.

COSTS: Development programme cost estimated at US$2,000 million (1995); but reassessed in 1996 as US$1,500 million, and only US$1,200 million by early 1997. Initial October 1997 FSD contract valued at approximately US$1,270 million. Development phase re-estimated at US$1.8 billion to US2.1 billion in mid-2000. Unit cost US$18 million to US$20 million for T-50. US$20 million to US$22 million for A-50 (2000).

DESIGN FEATURES: Mid-mounted, variable camber wings, swept back on leading-edges only; leading-edge root extensions (LERX); all-moving tailplane; sweptback fin leading-edge. Single turbofan engine, with twin side-mounted intakes. KAI developing fuselage and tail unit. Avionics include HUD and colour MFDs. Designed for service life of more than 10,000 hours.

FLYING CONTROLS: Digital fly-by-wire control of flaperons, leading-edge flaps, tailplane and rudder. Parker and Moog hydraulic actuators. Leading-edge manoeuvring flaps; split airbrake at rear of fuselage, between exhaust nozzle and tailplane halves.

STRUCTURE: Conventional aluminium alloy except for GFRP nose radome and some fairings. Lockheed Martin, avionics integration and wings for prototypes; KAI, fuselage, tail unit, production wings and final assembly at Sachon.

LANDING GEAR: Messier-Dowty hydraulically retractable tricycle type, with single wheel and oleo-pneumatic shock-absorber on each unit. Mainwheels retract into engine intake trunks, steerable nosewheel forward. Runway emergency arrester hook.

POWER PLANT: One General Electric F404-GE-102 turbofan (78.7 kN; 17,700 lb st with afterburning), equipped with FADEC. Provision for up to three 568 litre (150 US gallon; 125 Imp gallon) drop fuel tanks on centreline and/or inboard underwing stations.

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two in tandem; stepped cockpits; Martin-Baker ejection seats. Rear-hinged, upward-opening single canopy; one-piece wraparound windscreen.

SYSTEMS: Dual-redundant, independent hydraulic systems (A and B), each at 214 bar (3,100 lb sq/in) pressure and with flow rate of 187 litres (49.4 US gallons; 41.1 Imp gallons)/min; System A has 207 bar (3,000 lb/sq in) emergency back-up system with 100 litres (26.4 US gallons; 22.0 Imp gallons)/min flow rate. Honeywell emergency power system (EPS) operates System A emergency back-up and 1 kVA emergency generator throughout flight envelope. Hamilton Sundstrand APU provides self-contained engine starting capability on ground and up to 6,100 m (20,000 ft). Digitally controlled Hamilton Sundstrand environmental control system for avionics cooling, capacity 5.6 kW. Litton self-generating oxygen life support system.

AVIONICS: Comms: UHF/VHF radio; IFF.
Radar: Lockheed Martin AN/APG-67(V)4 in A-50.
Flight: Digital fly-by-wire flight controls with HOTAS; nav/attack system for fighter lead-in training; embedded GPS ring laser gyro INS Tacan; radar altimeter.
Instrumentation: BAE Systems HUD; two 127 x 127 mm (5 x 5 in) colour MFDs; Honeywell instrumentation displays (eight 76 mm; 3 in displays, including HSI, attitude indicator, electronic altimeter and Mach speed indicator).
Self-defence: A-50 provision for EW pods, chaff/flare dispenser and RWR.

ARMAMENT: A-50 has internal General Dynamics 20 mm three-barrel Gatling-type cannon with 205 rounds (port LERX). Both versions have seven external stations (one on centreline, two under each wing and AAM rail at each wingtip) for AAMs, ASMs, rocket pods, bombs, munition dispensers, practice bombs or equipment, and training targets. Includes AIM-9 Sidewinder and TGM-65 Maverick training missiles, CBU-58 and Mk 20 cluster munition, ACMI (Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation) pod, BDU-33 practice bombs and SUU-20 dispenser equipment, AGTS and TIX-3 training targets and Mk 82/83/84 series 500/1,000/2,000 lb bombs.