Korea is making aviation history with a supersonic jet that recently completed 1,000 test flights. Developers of the T-50 say the high performance trainer can be upgraded into a fighter jet in the next 3 years. The jet aircraft to be used for training pilots is Korea's first supersonic aircraft.
The T-50 recently completed its 1,000th test flight with no problems being reported. The trainers will be deployed later this year. The jet's developer, Korea Aerospace Industries, says by investing US$1 billion, it can transform the Golden Eagles into state-of-the-art fighter jets. "If we will upgrade the software that controls the armed system, these planes can be recreated into high-tech fighters within three years."
The bulk of the jets operated by the Korean air force are ageing F4 Phantoms and F5 Tigers that date back to the 1970s. Military officials say if some of these can be replaced by the sophisticated T-50s, the country's air force could see an improvement in its defense system. "If we improve the T-50s, they can be of a great assistance to the tactical fighter such as the F-15 Eagles." The Korean Air Force also operates state-of-the-art F15 Eagle fighter jets.
The Brazilian Air Force has revealed its intentions to purchase the T-50s if they are upgraded into combat fighters. But experts say T-50s still need a lot of handiwork, especially in navigation and avionics system to effectively perform air-to-air combat.