October 31, 2014 10:32
Korea has deployed its first home-grown light fighter aircraft warfare-ready for the first time.
The Air Force held a deployment ceremony for the FA-50s at an air base in Wonju, Gangwon Province Thursday attended by President Park Geun-hye, government officials and military leaders.
The FA-50 is a remodeled version of the home-grown T-50 supersonic trainer and can carry up to 4.5 tons of weaponry including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, and precision-guided munitions.
Park gave a short speech and pushed the button for the sortie of FA-50 fighter aircraft, watching two of the fighter jets demonstrate their operational capabilities.
After the jets were completed in August last year, they were given their own Air Force wing consisting of 20 of them. It became operational last month.
The jets are 13.14 m long with a wingspan of 9.45 m and can fly at the maximum speed of Mach 1.5.
They are armed with a 20 mm machine gun, sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and Maverick air-to-ground missiles. They can also carry various precision-guided bombs such as the American-made Joint Direct Attack Munition and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser system, and the Korea GPS Guided Bomb, a home-grown medium-range missile.
The FA-50 is equipped with state-of-the-art Radar Warning Receiver and Countermeasures Dispensing System. It can also carry out operations at night with night vision imaging.
Altogether 60 FA-50s will eventually replace the superannuated F-5 fighter aircraft. They lay the technological foundation for the development of a fully home-grown fighter aircraft, dubbed the KFX.
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