KAI starts T-50TH deliveries to Thailand
On January 8, South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) began supplying the Air Force of Thailand with advanced T-50TH trainer aircraft, armstrade.org reports.
According to Yonhap, the first pair of the transferred planes will arrive in Thailand in the near future.
In September 2015, the Thai Air Force command entered into an agreement with Korea Aerospace Industries for the delivery of four T-50THs. Their value is estimated at $110 million dollars. Aircraft must be delivered to the Thai Air Force within 30 months of signing the contract.
T-50TH are designed to replace the obsolete L-39ZA / ART Albatross, delivered in the early 1990s. The agreement included an option to purchase additional trainer aircraft.
In July 2017, the Thai government approved the request submitted by the Air Force command to purchase 8 additional T-50THs provided for by the option. The contract for the supply of aircraft was signed with the KAI on July 29, 2017. The value is estimated at $258 million dollars.
The test flights of the first T-50TH Golden Eagle for the Thai Air Force KAI began in August 2017. It is planned that the first batch of aircraft will be transferred by mid-2018 to the 4th wing of the Air Force of Thailand, located in the settlement of Nakhon Savan. According to the schedule, the first two T-50TH of the second batch will be transferred to the customer in 2019, and the remaining planes – in 2020.
The T-50TH is a modified armed version of the T-50 in-flight training aircraft. KAI representatives previously confirmed that the T-50TH will be equipped with some weapon systems used in the version of the light combat aircraft FA-50, but will not be equipped with communication facilities of the Link-16 standard and a number of other systems.
KAI expects that the Thai Air Force will purchase an additional 4 T-50TH. The general need of the country's air force in these aircraft is estimated at 16 units. Initially, it was planned to purchase them within the framework of one contract, however, due to problems with financing, it was decided to split the purchase into three tranches.
In total, since 2011, KAI has concluded export contracts for the supply of 64 T-50 aircraft valued at $ 2.9 billion. Of these, 12 aircraft of the FA-50 version were ordered by the Air Force of the Philippines. The Air Force of Iraq purchased 24 T-50s. Indonesia received 16 T-50 aircraft. In addition, KAI expects to sell its aircraft to the US, Argentina and Botswana.