South Korea's trainer jet has taken its first test flight in US last week after both the countries agreed to mutually recognize its airworthiness certification in September.
On 19 November, the 'T-X' trainer, a modified version of the T-50 planes in service with the South Korean Air Force, showed off its flight performance as a candidate to replace the existing jets operated by the US Air Force, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement Thursday.
The advanced T-X trainer jet was built by the Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI). T-X is the US project name for the advanced trainer jet that will replace the T-38 Talons in use at present.
"The T-X's test flight in the US means that the US Department of Defense has officially accepted the airworthiness certification domestically earned for the South Korean aircraft," a DAPA spokesman said.
To obtain approval to fly in US airspace, South Korea was undergoing a complicated administrative process and provide extra costs.
DAPA believes that the mutual recognition of airworthiness certificates would assist South Korea in exporting its trainer jets to the US in the long term.
Till now, KAI's aircraft exports reached $3.4 billion helped by demand for the KT-1 basic trainers and the T-50 advanced trainer jets in emerging markets, such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, South Korea signed a $1.2 billion deal with Lockheed Martin Corp. a week ago to gradually upgrade its entire 134 KF-16 fighter jets during the 2017-2020 periods, the spokesman said. Under the upgrade contract, Lockheed will modernize the 134 KF-16s to a configuration similar to its advanced F-16V model.
Among the upgrades are an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar; a modern commercial off-the-shelf-based avionics subsystem; a large-format, high-resolution center pedestal display; and a high-volume and high-speed data bus, the US aircraft company said on its webpage.
AESA is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small transmit/receive (T/R) modules. AESA radars have almost instantaneous scanning rates, making them difficult to jam and allowing the aircraft employing the technology to remain stealthy. A data bus refers to a system within a computer or device.
South Korea on Tuesday has approved intelligence sharing pact with Japan, known as General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) to counter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. The discussion on the controversial intellegence sharing pact was resumed on October 27 after four years gap
South Korea and US will be signing bilateral pact Monday to share information on their defense industry companies in a move to facilitate the trade of weapons. "We have had some difficulties in obtaining credible information on the US and other foreign countries' weapons companies
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $1.2 billion contract to upgrade F-16 aircraft for the Republic of Korea
South Korea on Wednesday has considered developing a long range rocket system to strengthen its capabilities to counter increasing North Korean military threats. Including a long-range rocket system, South Korea has approved three major defense projects,
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Lockheed Martin has won a $450 million contract for low-rate initial production Lot 10 F-35 Lightning II advance acquisition for South Korea. This modification continues the integration work to implement the development and delivery of the F-35A Air System to the Republic of Korea under the Foreign Military Sales program, US department of defense said in a statement Thursday
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