June 04, 2012 12:30
Twelve aging T-59 Hawk trainer jets that are set for retirement may be sold to the U.S. The British-made trainers were originally earmarked for sale as scrap metal for W4-5 million (US$1=W1,179) apiece, but a U.S. military contractor in November last year asked to buy them, a military source here said Sunday.
"The deal is currently being assessed by the British government and aircraft maker BAE and a positive decision is expected soon," the source added. The American firm apparently wants to upgrade the T-59s and sell them to military enthusiasts or modify them as drill targets and sell them to the U.S. Air Force.
The Korean Air Force acquired 20 T-59 trainer jets in 1992 for $6.62 million each. Only 15 are left after a series of crashes, all of them set for retirement by 2014. They will be replaced by Korean-made TA-50 trainer jets.
The Korean military either donates retired aircraft to military museums or sells or gives them to foreign countries. Between 1995 and 1998, it sold eight F-5A Freedom Fighter jets to the Philippines for $800, and in 1996 it sold two F-86F Saber fighters to Thailand for $50,000. The T-59s are expected to fetch hundreds of millions of won.
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