First Test Flight for Second T-50A

Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries said the second T-50A aircraft configured for the Air Force’s T-X competition for a new pilot trainer has completed its initial test flight at KAI’s airfield in Sacheon, South Korea. “We now have two aircraft in flight test proving our upgrade, and we’re nearing completion of our assembly and training operations center in Greenville, S.C.,” Doug Batista, Lockheed Martin T-50A program manager, said in a company release. “We’re now on track to provide the Air Force with a production line and training capability on day one of contract award.” Lockheed is offering the T-50A, based on a trainer and attack aircraft already in service with the Korean Air Force, as a low-risk option for the advanced pilot training competition to replace the T-38, first produced in the 1960s. The Lockheed-KAI offering also includes a ground-based training system. Three other contractor teams are offering candidates to provide the Air Force the 350 new pilot training aircraft it wants. Raytheon, Finmeccanica, and CAE are offering the existing T-100, while Boeing-Saab and Northrop Grumman are offering clean sheet designs. (See also: Teeing up the T-X from the June 2015 issue of Air Force Magazine.)