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ADEX 2021: KAI unveils concept model for electrically powered basic trainer

At the ADEX 2021 defence exhibition at Seoul Airport KAI displayed a concept model of a next-generation, electrically powered basic training aircraft (front), as well as a model of what appears to be a further development of the company's KT-1 basic trainer (background). (Dae Young Kim)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) displayed a concept model of a new electrically powered basic training aircraft that the company aims to develop to meet a future requirement by the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).

Showcased at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2021 (ADEX 2021) held from 19-23 October, the new twin-seat concept aircraft – known as Black Kite (Sorigae) – is expected to feature an electric propulsion system powering a total of four propellers mounted on the wings.

According to a promotional video released by the company, the trainer is expected to be 4.7 m high, 11.6 m long, and have a wingspan of 11.2 m.

The low-emission aircraft is expected to have a digital cockpit design compatible with that on the KAI T-50/TA-50 advanced trainer/light attack aircraft and on the next-generation KF-21 fighter to facilitate interoperability. The next-generation trainer is also set to leverage augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to enhance the pilot's training experience.

If further developed and adopted, the Black Kite, which is still in the conceptual research stage, would likely replace the RoKAF's KT-1 Woong-Bee trainer. Powered by a 708 kW (950 shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 turboprop engine, the KT-1 entered service in South Korea in 2000.

However, there is currently no formal known replacement programme for the KT-1.

A second Black Kite concept model was also on display at ADEX 2021, representing a single turboprop engine basic trainer aircraft. Janes

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