The KAI (Korea Aerospace Industries) announced that the company had the Roll-out ceremony of FA-50 #1 (to be exported to Poland) at its headquarters in Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do on June 7, 2023.
This is the shortest achievement to produce a combat aircraft in eight months since the contract signing in September 2022 thanks to KAI’s excellence in manufacturing and the support by the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense, The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea Air Force.
About 100 distinguished participants included KAI CEO KANG Goo-young; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Mariusz Błaszcza, National Defense of Poland; Minister LEE Jong-sup of National Defense of the Republic of Korea; General JUNG Sang-hwa, Chief of Staff of the ROK Air Force; Directorate Brig Gen Ireneusz Nowak, Chief of the Polish Air Force; Minister EOM Dong-hwan of DAPA, the Republic of Korea; and Ambassador Piotr Ostaszewski of Poland to the Republic of Korea.
The Roll-out ceremony was meaningful as this is the first chance to disclose the actual aircraft. The theme of this ceremony was ‘Firm Commitment, Secure Future’, which holds a symbolic meaning to illustrate the commitment to protect the sovereign airspace of Poland and the Republic of Korea, and the amicable relationship between the two nations.
FA-50 #1 used the name FA-50GF (Gap Filler) as it will function to fill Poland’s strategic gaps by swiftly replacing the ageing fighter aircrafts in Poland and having new ones on track for military missions in a timely manner.
After the flight test by the end of July, FA-50GF will be provided starting in August. The first 12 FA-50GFs are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2023.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Mariusz Błaszcza, National Defense of Poland said, “Thanks to the speedy release of FA-50GF, Poland is now able to equip itself with more advanced military strategies and realise its military modernisation. I look forward to seeing FA-50GF fly in the airspace of Poland.”
Minister LEE Jong-sup of National Defense of the Republic of Korea congratulated on the releasing of FA-50 and said, “This will be an opportunity to enhance the cooperation in national defence and defence market both in Poland and the Republic of Korea.”
KAI CEO KANG Goo-young said, “I appreciate the ROK Air Force and many others from both Poland and South Korea, who never spare their effort to support the development and the manufacturing of the aircraft until we see the first release of FA-50GF.” He also added, “We will exert ourselves to create aircrafts that Korean and Polish citizens can rely on through its thorough testing and assessment.”
According to the contract, KAI is scheduled to consecutively provide 36 FA-50PLs (Poland) out of the maximum contract number of 48 between the second half of 2025 and 2028, which is the upgraded version of FA-50 with the highest level of specifications by reflecting the needs and the requests from the Polish Air Force.
FA-50PL is upgraded with overall functions by extending its range through the aerial refuelling function and enhancing the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons, which is expected to contribute to develop the Polish Air Force.
FA-50PL is a combat aircraft, which can carry out various missions including special tactics and fighter duties. With its outstanding compatibility with F-16, FA-50PL is optimised for fighter training for the fifth generation jets such as F-35, which is expected to play its role as a core type of aircraft for the Polish Air Force.
KAI Prospect in Asia
KAI recently signed a deal to deliver 18 FA-50 Block 20 to Malaysia and is looking to clinch a deal to provide a second batch of another 18 aircraft once this first batch is delivered.
KAI has also delivered T-50 and FA-50 to a number of other Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. –kai/adj/mhi (Pix: KAI)