11 Desember 2014
KAI F/A-50 light strike aircraft (photo : Militaryphotos)
S. Korea's FA-50 jet to be displayed at Busan airport
BUSAN (Yonhap) -- The leaders of the Philippines and Brunei are expected to view a South Korean indigenous fighter jet that will be displayed at an airport in the country's southeastern port city at their request, military officers said Thursday.
The FA-50 is a light attack variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer that was co-developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin. It is the most advanced variant of the T-50 family operated by the South Korean Air Force.
President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines and Brunei's leader Hassanal Bolkiah are expected to inspect the FA-50, which will be displayed at Gimhae International Airport ahead of their departure from Busan on Friday, they said.
The two leaders are in Busan to attend a two-day commemorative summit between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"The jet plane is expected to be shown to them at the airport in Busan," said an officer from the Air Force, asking not to be named. The light fighter plane will fly from an air base in Wonju, some 132 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Thursday.
In March, South Korea signed a US$420 million contract to export 12 FA-50 fighter jets to the Philippines under a government-to-government deal as part of their moves to expand defense cooperation.
The contract is widely expected to boost the KAI's overseas bid for T-50 family jets, following deals with Iraq in December and Indonesia in 2011.
The Sultan of Brunei will also have a chance to hear explanations about the T-50 by officials from the Air Force, they added.
Brunei's move comes as its top envoy to Seoul showed an interest in the plane last month when he visited the headquarters of KAI in Sacheon, about 437 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on the occasion of a foreign ministry event for foreign ambassadors in Seoul, according to sources.
KAI is currently competing with rivals to win Peru's next generation light attack aircraft competition by offering its FA-50 supersonic jets.