KAI to develop single-seat version of FA-50

Gepubliceerd op 13 maart 2024 om 16:11

Concept by Yoran Bontje

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) plans to capture over 50% of the global single-seat light fighter market by developing a single-seat version of its FA-50 light combat aircraft. The recent sales of FA-50s to Poland and Malaysia have prompted the revival of earlier plans for a single-seat version. These plans were initially abandoned in favor of the KF-21 development.

The single-seater, designated as the F-50, will be offered to nations that still operate older aircraft models such as F-5, A-37, A-4, older MiG, and Sukhoi models. To meet the requirements of these nations, the F-50 will be tailor-made according to their specific needs.

To reduce costs, the F-50 will retain its current canopy and overall appearance. Special emphasis will be given to increasing its range by replacing the back seat with a large fuel tank and enabling air-to-air refueling. The start of the project is expected to begin this year, with development planned for completion by 2028.

KAI expects total sales to be upwards of 300 aircraft, with the first country targeted for sales being Malaysia. With that country already acquiring the FA-50, KAI hopes the Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM, Malaysian Air Force) will also consider the F-50 (or KF-21) as a replacement for its Su-30 Flanker and F/A-18 Hornet. At present, the Dae Han Min Guk Gong Gun (RoKAF, Republic of Korea Air Force) has not shown any interest in this FA-50 development.