KAI Approachs RTAF to sell its T-50 Advanced Trainer


Jane’s Defense Weekly reported from Singapore Air Show, quoting the words from KAI representative that Korean company approching Thai government about the possibility of selling its T-50 Golden Eagle.

This is very interesting regarding the following fact.

JDW (27 Fed 2008 issue) reports that KAI is already start talking with Thai government about the possibility of selling its advanced trainer T-50. KAI hopes that, in a few year, RTAF might want a new advanced trainer and looks to the fifth generation fighter in the far future. So they come and see the RTAF requirement and what RTAF want if they buy new advanced trainer.

RTAF nowaday operating 36 L-39ZA/ARTs for LIFT mission. (Lead-In Fighter Trainer) This aircraft were bought in 90s and passed a major factory-scale check & repair process but obviously RTAF needs to find its new LIFT aircraft in 10 years from now.

Another interesting point is RTAF Alphajet. RTAF bought 20 Alphajets A from Luftwaffe to use as a CAS aircraft. (One was crashed) In around 15 years the airframe will be too old to fly and the replacement is needed.

The trend in RTAF is that they will uses advanced trainer as a light strike aircraft. That’s why L-39ZA/ART is equipped with NATO-standard Israeli avionic and pylon.

So in 10 – 20 years the requirement for RTAF Advanced Trainer/Light Strike Fighter replacment might be around 50 to 70 aircrafts.

L-39ZA/ART Royal Thai Air Force

the Advantage of T-50 in RTAF

– High technology and performance: Consider the weapon, performance, and supersonic capability. RTAF can uses Golden Eagle as a light strike fighter to replace L-39ZA/ART and Alphajet A.

– Commonality: T-50 is based on F-16 technology and I needs to remind you that F-16 is the backbone of RTAF now. Almost all F-16s will be upgraded in MLU program and continue flying until 2039. So T-50 can perfectly a LIFT aircraft for F-16MLU. Also, reduing the aircraft type is the major concern. So training and striking in the same aircraft is obviously a good idea.

– History: This is just my opinion. Thai troops used to fought in Korean War. So maybe, however, Korea might offer ssome special proposal.

the Disadvantage of T-50 in RTAF

– Price: Price is the only major obstacle I can see for now. Consider T-50 price around 20 – 25 Million USD and the price of the armed version, FA-50, maybe hover around 30 – 40 million USD. That’s mean you need to pay 1,000 million USD for 50 T-50s, and even higher if you want FA-50. That’s make T-50 very hard to buy.

– Over shoot, over kill: Maybe RTAF do not want such a high performance like T-50. They may only looks at the lower performance but also the lowr operating cost trainer like M-346, Yak-130, or Hawk (if the Hawk production line still exist in that day)

So if in the future KAI can lower the price due to the order number, the chance of T-50 will increase.

Wait and see.

you can see the scanned photo of JDW here. Thank spiderweb6969 on http://www.timawa.net.



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