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08:53 AM, May 10, 2018
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T-X technology demonstrator prototype rollout by KAI, Lockheed Martin in December 2015 (Image: KAI)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is said to have made $150,000 payment to Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in November 2017.

The payments were made to Essential Consultants LLC, a company established by Cohen in Delaware, according to a memo released by Michael Avenatti on Twitter Thursday.

The revelations about the payments came after Michael Avenatti, lawyer for adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford who had alleged she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, released documents that said Essential Consultants received payments from several individuals and companies.

KAI is poised to be a partner for an estimated $16 billion deal with Lockheed Martin to build T-X 50A trainer jet. KAI has said that it hired Essential for legal counselling regarding U.S. accounting standards on production costs.

Lockheed Martin in a statement has said that, it had no knowledge of a business relationship between KAI and Cohen and are not aware of any connection it may have to the U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training competition, CNBC reported Thursday.

The T-50A is a variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle currently serving in the Korean Air Force and several other militaries around the world.

Other contenders for the project include Leonardo DRS with its T-100, a USAF-optimized variant of the Italian M-346 trainer which was born out of a partnership with Russia that saw Moscow develop the Yak-130 combat/trainer.

In addition, Boeing has offered a brand-new aircraft built from scratch with partner Saab.

One of the main criteria for the USAF Advanced Pilot Training Project contenders to meet will be an ability to train pilots to fly fifth generation aircraft such as the F-35 and F-22.

This is where Lockheed Martin claims it has an edge having built both the aircraft.

BAE systems-Northrop Grumman and L-3 systems were offering a new aircraft to the US. Raytheon-Leonardo and CAE were offering T-100 based on M-346 design. They backed out of the program in February last year.

Raytheon and Leonardo-Finmeccanica had jointly announced that they would not be participating in the US Air Force T-X trainer acquisition program in January this year. In February, Raytheon backed out and Leonardo decided to pursue the competition alone with its T-100 integrated Training Systems. Textron withdrew from their offering in March last year.

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