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South Korean air force receives first TA-50 Block 2 aircraft

The KAI TA-50 Block 2 includes improved avionics and a radar system, in addition to the capability to integrate combat air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry. The aircraft pictured is a TA-50 Block 1 aircraft in service with the RoKAF. (Korea Aerospace Industries)

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has delivered the first Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 ‘Golden Eagle' Block 2 lead-in fighter trainer/light attack aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).

DAPA said on 1 January that the delivery was made on 28 December 2023. The delivery is part of a KRW1 trillion (USD764.7 million) contract that was started in 2020 to provide the RoKAF with TA-50 Block 2 aircraft, DAPA added. Janes has previously reported that the contract covered at least 20 Block 2 aircraft.

The new aircraft will augment the 22 TA-50 Block 1 training aircraft in RoKAF service. DAPA has suggested that these 22 Block 1 aircraft are “insufficient” for “training of combat pilots”.

The Block 2 also has several upgrades over the TA-50 Block 1. “The TA-50 Block 2 is the latest trainer in the shape of the FA-50, a light attack aircraft, and compared to the [TA-50] Block 1, it is equipped with precision-guided bombs [Joint Direct Attack Munitions: JDAMs] and lighting devices suitable for night-vision devices to enhance night flight capabilities,” DAPA said.

“Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and Counter Measures Dispense System (CMDS) were [also] installed to increase the aircraft's ability to protect itself from enemy attack,” the agency added.

Janes has previously reported that the aircraft is equipped with the Elta EL/M-2032 X-band (8–12 GHz) multimode 3D fire-control radar and can be armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles.

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