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Poland receives first FA-50s into service

Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak speaking in front of the first two FA-50 combat aircraft to be delivered to the Polish Air Force. (Polish Ministry of National Defence)

Poland has received into service the first of 48 Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft.

The induction of the first two aircraft was announced by the Polish Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, at Mińsk Mazowiecki on 21 August. Błaszczak was speaking ahead of the Radom Air Show 2023, where the jets will be formally presented to the Polish Air Force.

According to Błaszczak, 10 more aircraft will be delivered before the end of 2023. These initial 12 jets were originally intended for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF), but are being diverted to Poland in line with the country's urgent requirement. These upgraded T-50 Golden Eagle Block II advanced jet trainers are to be designated FA-50GF (Gap Filler).

The remaining 36 aircraft will be built specifically for Poland, and designated FA-50PL (Poland). It is unclear if the FA-50GF airframes will retain their ‘gap filler' designation once in service, or if they will revert to the FA-50PL national designation instead.

The FA-50 is the operational version of the T-50 advanced jet trainer. Although billed as a ‘light' fighter, the FA-50 has a potent air-to-air and air-to-surface capability.

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