The FA-50 Golden Eagle is a light combat aircraft built for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). It is the most advanced version of TA-50 with greater internal fuel capacity, improved avionics, a longer radome, and a tactical datalink.
In October 1997, the development of the FA-50 combat aircraft started. In January 2006, the development phase of the aircraft ended with six prototypes built. In October 2012, the aircraft received its military type certification from the Korean Military Aircraft Airworthiness Committee (MAAC). The FA-50 is the first fighter-class military aircraft to be certified by MAAC.
The KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle light attack aircraft is a replacement for the old fighter fleet of the Republic of Korea Air Force such as the Northrop F-5E/F and Cessna A-37 aircraft. In 2011, a $600 million contract was awarded to Korea Aerospace Industries by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). The contract covers the production and supply of twenty KAI FA-50 to the Republic of Korea Air Force by 2014. In May 2013, DAPA placed a $1 billion follow-on serial production contract with KAI for the FA-50. The aircraft deliveries started in 2013.
The aircraft features a tandem glass cockpit for two crew members. It is designed with a wide field of view head-up display, multifunctional displays, hands on throttle-and-stick, integrated upfront controls, digital engine instrumentation and zero-zero ejection seat that allows the pilot to successfully eject at a zero altitude and a zero airspeed. It is also equipped with an on-board oxygen generation system that produces unlimited oxygen-enriched air on the aircraft and night vision imaging system to enhance the flight crew’s ability to maintain visual reference to the surface at night. The flight control systems incorporate digital fly-by-wire, active stick, electrical emergency power unit, digital break-by-wire, and a triple-redundant electrical system.
The avionics system incorporates embedded inertial navigation system/global positioning system, integrated mission computer, Identification Friend or Foe, radar and multimode, store management system, UHF/VHF radio, highly-structured tactical datalink, data transfer and recording system, radar warning receiver, and countermeasure dispenser system to protect for incoming radar and infrared homing missiles.
The F-50 is powered by a Eurojet EJ200 or a General Electric F414 engine. It has a maximum thrust of 22,000 lbf.